Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Like a Virgin with Laura E. Harner...

When Laura E. Harner was a virgin…

So…in honor of my first solo release coming out in 8 days, Emery's Ritches…I've decided to celebrate by talking to some very talented authors about their first solo release! *giggles* You see…it isn't all about me all the time…but I do love weaseling my way into the action most of the time…hehe

Today I've crossed oceans and vast amounts of land to get my hands on my next guest (well oceans for the book and lands for the author...hehe)...and I'm not against restraining her to make sure I get my full time with her *blushes* May I introduce the successful and beautiful Laura E. Harner to everyone! *hides the chains behind my back*

Laura will be spilling some of her virgin secrets...*pats Laura's thigh and smiles* they always think in the naughty ways, unlike my pure mind *blinks innocently*...I mean her secrets to a fabulous about her first time that is...*rests forehead on Laura's shoulder and whispers* I'm not helping much am I? *giggles*
My first time was in the back of a Chevy Vega when I was—

Whoa my honey...that should be reserved for our second bottle of wine and less company...oh yeah...But for now we want to hear about your virgin self-published release book, Highland Shift...ta da! hehe
Oh, that first time. *Blushes*
Okay, well, unlike so many others, I never planned to be a writer. I had that same vague thought of a lot of voracious readers have…I wished I could write. You know what they say about wishes…

I always read mysteries and crime novels, so IF I ever was going to write, it would be something like that, but there were no serious plans. Then someone told me to read a book by Karen Marie Moning.. I might have wrinkled my nose, because I didn’t read a lot of romances. But I followed the advice, and ended up buying and reading her entire backlist. Then I bought the audios, and listened to them all over again. I started supplementing with a whole new group of writers.

*Shivers as Havan strokes my back*

Where was I?

So, let's start this off with how you popped your cherry with Highland Shift...tell us about your first experience…*blushes*
Oh, yeah. So I quite literally woke up one morning with this huge story in my head, and started writing. I had no idea about the publishing industry, about how to write a novel…nothing. But I couldn’t stop writing. Trust me…the first version was 145,000 words long.

With out pausing, I went right into book two, Highland Pull. By then, I’d started to wonder about publishing, and turned all of my attention on researching every aspect of the industry. I learned agents and publishers were never going to look at a four book series that would come in at 400k words by the time it was finished. I needed some writing credentials in a hurry.

Eventually, I decided to write a novella about three life long friends whose relationship changes in one snowy weekend. Whiteout was my first published novel, and it was published through a traditional e-publishing company.

Why did you switch to self-publishing and do you stand firm behind that decision?
I switched to self-publishing because I wanted to be in control of my destiny. I didn’t want an arbitrary number to drive editing decisions (I was told not to write anything over 70k words…too late, lol!)

Highland Shift and the rest of the books in the Highland Destiny series aren’t completely stand-alone. You could read just one, but you won’t get the whole story unless you read all of them. The relationships of the main characters in each book, are completely interwoven with the characters in the next book.  The books have had excellent reviews from the beta readers (Yes, they’re all finished <g>) but conventional publishing wisdom says they are too complex for what most readers are looking for today. They’re too long. They don’t follow the formula.

Hell, I didn’t even know there was a formula. Sigh.
So, back to the question, I absolutely would self publish these again. Even though I’m an Indie, I still have professional covers and book two just finished multiple rounds of professional editing. As an Indie, though, I am involved in every step of the process.

Highland Shift has a little bit of something for has the erotic locale of Scotland with that sensual accent of Faolan' has mystical aspects...paranormal plotlines...mystery and suspense—all of this while it freaking seduces you right outta your undies and makes you beg for I can never tell *winks*...sooooo, did you find it at all daunting mixing all of this together?
I don't think I was smart enough about writing to be daunted by it all. I just stepped in and started. I wish I knew where the ideas come from. I could bottle it! Actually, ever since I started to write, just a bit over three years ago, I wake up about 2:00 am every morning, with the sense I’ve been talking with someone, or many someones, all night. The characters lobby for bigger parts or to change from good guy to bad and vice versa. I don't think I've slept more than five or six hours a night for years now. Of course, maybe, these are just my alternate personalities acting out. If so, please don't medicate me because I'm having way too much fun!

And on the tail end of that question *waggles brows*...are you normally a plotter or a pantser? While writing I mean...
I knew where the Highland Destiny series would end, however, remember, I didn’t know anything about writing a novel, let alone a series.  I felt most of the time as if the characters were driving every bit of story…and I’d have to yank one of the hunky highlanders back in line just so we could get to where I needed them to be. So,uhm, yeah…pantser.
Ooooor...stick with me like to plot about pantsing? *giggles into Laura's arm* I crack myself up sometimes...*coughs*...yeah, well...why do I feel like that gong thing should sound now?

Oh-kay, back on track...Highland Shift is just the first of three books...and a little birdie tells me the second one was released on Tuesday! Tell us about Highland Pull and Highland Push and what stoked the fire in you to add to this exciting tale.
Highland Pull is 325 pages of nonstop action. Here’s the blurb:
Waking up next to a dead woman was a good indication that Dr. Gabhran MacLachlan was in bigger trouble than he’d realized. Recognizing this as another trap set by the dark Druid Master, Gav races from Edinburgh to New Orleans to find Alysone, a mental patient who claims to have awakened in a reality that isn’t hers. Her story, so close to his own, may be the necessary key to unlock his Druid memories and prevent him from shifting realities once again.

When Alysone disappears, Detective Miranda Close is less than thrilled to discover her new landlord and would-be lover is the missing woman’s doctor. Raised in the magick of New Orleans and already familiar with the darkness coiled within Gav, Randi’s belief in the supernatural may be all that saves her life when they are pulled hundreds of years into his past, and only one of them remembers the truth. When realities shift once again, Randi realizes they may be pawns in a much larger game.

The Highland Destiny saga continues with a tale of betrayal, murder, and magick that spans two continents and hundreds of years.

Highland Push doesn’t have an official blurb yet, but this will give your readers the idea:
What is the value of one man’s happiness when the fate of Druidry is at stake?

Anything more would give you spoilers to Highland Pull. (There is a blurb at the end of Highland Pull)

Okay…about me for a second *big smiles*…I'm personally going through some withdrawal anxieties with my boys… did you have any withdrawal pains when you sent Elena & Faolan out there in the big bad world?
No, I didn’t have real expectations then. I didn’t know what self pubbing would be like or if there was an audience. Highland Shift was my best selling title last month, so sending Highland Pull out there this week has actually been harder. Randi and Gav have a lot to carry forward.
The middle child always has it the

Looking back—now that you have more experience under your belt—would you change anything about Highland Shift or your way of handling its release?
No, I don’t think so…maybe a different editor. Fortunately, one of my good friends helped out when the paid professional managed to skip three chapters.

If you had to turn your virgin experience of publishing your book into an erotic novel what would you title it?
Slow Ride

What color would you label your first foray in publishing your book and why?
Red hot…because I had to learn to write naughty words.

Now…just because I enjoy a speed round Laura…*winks*…here are a few quickies for us…answer with Elena or Faolan…

Most likely to get down and dirty in public…Faolan (he does)
Most likely to wear a fedora and rock it…Elena
Most likely to eat food in bed *winks*…Elena
Most likely to be found barefoot…Elena
Most likely to find a stray kitten and bring her home…Elena brought home two kittens, and Faolan took care of them when she was hurt. One of my favorite scenes is him tickling his fingers and the kittens chasing them and falling over each other.
Most likely to blow off plans and talk the other into staying in bed all day…Faolan
Most likely to have a sweet tooth…Faolan
In a silly battle of wills…most likely to refrain from…um…pleasuring themselves the longest…Faolan-Elena has a little problem with that.
Power to the woman! roflmao

And now for my favorite part! *cuddles up next to Laura and sniffs her hair* What? She smells really yummy! Fine...*cuddles up next to Laura and bats my eyelashes at her* Better? So Laura, will you tell us the story of a great big muscle bound uber smexy protective Highlander and the damsel that he more than one way...hehe

Elena MacFarland wonders what everyone else knows about her new farm that she doesn’t, and whether she’ll live long enough to find out. Betrayed by her fiancé and the powerful Worthington family, Elena fights back and negotiates a comfortable settlement with one small caveat: she must live in Scotland for two years. One kidnapping and two attempts on her life later, the darkly arrogant Scot, Faolan MacGailtry declares himself her new protector and moves into her farmhouse. The only problem? He was present at all three incidents. Elena decides to follow the adage to keep her friends close and enemies closer—but which is he? One by one, Elena uncovers Faolan’s darkest secrets: his Druid heritage, his connection to her past, and finally, the deadly curse that is powerful enough to destroy them both.

You can find Highland Shift @ Amazon & All Romance e-books (ARe)
You can find Laura E. Harner @ One Hot Mess & Facebook

“Scatter,” said the queen, imperiously, and then she’d thought no more about the powerfully magickal Druids.

The queen of the immortal race of the Tuatha Dé Danann, or Fae, was annoyed at her royal court for the games they were playing with the humans. With a gentle twitch of her finger and a word whispered on the wind, she’d banished the Druids to the four corners of the world and destroyed their libraries. She believed that once they were unable to pass on their magick, their power would die within a few generations.

The ancient members of the Druid Council, who were wise in the ways of both gods and humans, survived and cast wards around an island known only to them. There they continued to practice their arts despite their banishment, maintaining the veil between worlds, keeping humankind safe from otherworldly harm.

It was from this island that the Druid leaders cast powerful spells to direct certain futures. If you were inclined to believe in fairy tales, then you might believe this island sank into the sea thousands of years ago, taking the last of the ancient Druids and their magick with it. You might also believe such spells had no place in today’s world. You would be wrong on both counts.

Chapter One
Elena MacFarland stood motionless at the airline counter, temporarily lost in the earthy, spicy scent of the man behind her. Tired from the long flight and ready to get on with her fresh start, she resented the musky mixture that made her want to bury her face in his chest. Briefly closing her eyes, she sought inner strength, only to experience a mental vision of naked arms and legs tangled beneath satin sheets instead. With one last shaky breath of the intoxicating aroma, Elena retrieved her passport and ticket from the attendant and turned toward the seating area.

“Excuse me,” the man said to the harried attendant, his Scottish burr deep and sexy, “can you tell me if there are any more seats available on that flight? ‘Tis a matter of life and death.”

Shaking off the additional brain fog his voice induced, Elena pushed forward to the boarding area and placed her backpack by her feet. With a deep breath, she reluctantly raised her eyes just enough to see what had smelled and sounded so enticing.

No doubt about it, there had been a god behind her in line. Her mouth went dry at the expanse of golden skin and light dusting of hair on display between the top of his sturdy hiking boots and the bottom of his navy and green tartan. A thick cream-colored sweater clung to his broad shoulders, giving him a look of Old World style meets modern rustic. He was six and half feet of barely suppressed power, and her fingers curled as she thought about removing the leather thong that restrained his long sun-kissed hair. Blushing at her thoughts, Elena wondered if anything restrained him underneath his kilt. He looked as though he'd stepped off the cover of a romance novel. She barely resisted the urge to fan herself. She hadn’t thought men still wore kilts, but she definitely liked the look.

When Elena had stood at the counter, she’d noticed that the perky attendant’s nametag identified her as Shelly, and right now she looked ready to cry as she shook her head. There were no remaining seats available. The man continued to speak softly, and it was plain that he was using his considerable charm to find a way onto the flight. Whatever he said caused Shelly to look directly at Elena, whisper, and nod. He followed Shelly’s gaze and raised a sardonic brow when he caught Elena watching him.

His gaze slowly raked Elena’s body before he finally raised his gaze to meet her green eyes. Her spine stiffened, and nipples rose to pert attention in a confused and involuntary response. He stirred an ancient hunger deep within her belly, and lower still, as though she had a primal knowledge of his rock-hard body, steely arms, and crushing lips. Twenty feet apart and total strangers, Elena felt scorched by the heat that radiated between them.

Elena extinguished the fire quickly as her mind filled with memories of another egotistical jerk who had oozed such an overload of self-confidence. Over the past few months, Elena MacFarland graduated from law school, became engaged, passed the bar exam, and landed her dream job. She’d also been dumped on her ass, fired, served with a restraining order, and evicted by Martin J. Worthington, III, who was both her former boss and ex-future-father-in-law. Arrogance did not impress her.

With a sniff, Elena turned away from the drama. She thought about the circumstances that had brought her halfway around the world, ready to start a new life on the outskirts of Inverness. As soon as she realized that she’d been used to advance the Worthington’s agenda and unwilling to quit when she was so far behind, Elena had cleverly negotiated a very comfortable settlement with the elder Worthington in exchange for her silence. The only real drawback was that she needed to live in Scotland for two years. It didn’t seem such a bad bargain.

Impatiently, Elena pushed the memories away and once more observed the ruckus on the other side of the airport lounge. Shelly had taken the arrogant Scotsman to speak with an older woman who was apparently traveling alone. The woman was listening attentively to Shelly, while never taking her eyes off the man’s face. He took up the tale, presented his case, and then waited for her decision. Elena pitied her and expected it was a done deal; the man would get the woman’s seat. It would be hard to resist his smoldering gaze.


The flight attendant’s pampering made Elena glad that she had splurged on a first-class ticket. As she enjoyed her complimentary beverage, Elena watched the other travelers trudge past on their way to economy. The stream of passengers stopped, directions for buckling seatbelts announced, yet the cabin door was still open and the seat next to her still empty.

The senior flight attendant came through the door at the last possible minute, fawning over the gorgeous man from the terminal. He was completely oblivious to her attentions as he scanned the cabin, his gaze settling on Elena. He folded and squeezed himself into the remaining seat and brushed the flight attendant’s hands away as she tried to help him fasten his seatbelt.

Elena leaned closer to the window and feigned an interest in the hustle and bustle of London’s Heathrow Airport. She hadn’t been nearly this close to him in the terminal, and his scent alone had practically given her an orgasm. Now her heart pounded uncomfortably fast in her chest as she concentrated on making herself as small as possible. Elena didn’t understand her reaction to this manipulative man. She chalked it up to the strain of moving and tried to push her errant thoughts away.

As the plane began to taxi, he surprised her by introducing himself. “Hello, lass,” he said seriously, “my name is Faolan.” He pronounced it as FULL-an, the words rolling out of his mouth in a low and devastatingly sexy brogue.

Elena longed to wrap her tongue around his name, unsure of her ability to do it justice. She knew he was waiting for her to offer her name in return, but she had apparently gone mute as she stared at his face up close. His eyes were stunning. The golden amber irises were edged with a dark ring, and his lashes were long enough to make a woman weep with envy. They were eyes Elena could stare into for hours. His nose was strong and straight, with slightly flared nostrils. His lips parted in a half-mocking smile that showed even, white teeth.

She was just thinking she would like to nibble that full lower lip when he caught his teeth on it in a small bite. Fortunately, the flight attendant provided a timely distraction by asking Faolan what he would like to drink, giving Elena a chance to check herself for drool. With a quick mental inventory, she knew her emerald green eyes must look tired, and her long black curls were tangled into a clip on the back of her head. At least her blue v-necked sweater still clung flatteringly. There was comfort in that small positive. Elena was slightly more composed when Faolan looked back, so she gave introducing herself a whirl.

“I’m Elena MacFarland. Nice to meet you.” Oh God, that sounded so lame!

For the next hour, Elena was going to be stuck next to Faolan in a strangely intimate public place. She reminded herself that she wasn’t trying to make an impression, just trying to keep from touching the man. Even in the extra roomy seats of the first-class cabin, Faolan’s knee managed to bump against hers, and Elena gasped. It was as though a bolt of electricity shot straight up her leg! She thought she heard him laugh softly. Elena stared out the window, more disturbed by her reactions than she cared to admit.

Faolan was a powerfully sexual man. Everything about him set her hormones on fire. Her body and mind had disengaged from each other, and her body wanted to touch him, pet him, taste him. Elena had learned that lesson the hard way, and it wasn’t going to happen again. Good-looking, arrogant men like Faolan were never interested in the real Elena, there would always be a catch. Her body would just have to back the hell down; her head was in control now.

Determined to prove just how in control she was, Elena decided to risk some small talk. She took a deep breath to relieve the tension, turned toward Faolan, and was surprised to find him staring intently at her. Elena had always wondered why people needed to gather their wits about them, but now she knew. Wits could indeed be scattered. She spent a moment gathering hers and wondering why he watched her so closely.

In her hesitation, Faolan made the first conversational strike. “What brings you to Scotland, lass? Where are you headed?”

“Uhm.” That was clever. Try again. She cleared her throat. “I’m moving here. I just purchased a home, north of Inverness, and I’m on my way there.” She was relieved to notice that she sounded better, more like the confident woman she knew herself to be.

Faolan seemed politely interested, “How did you decide on Inverness? Do you have family here? Or is your man from here?”

Elena sighed. “It’s a long story, but no, I have no family or a man. I haven’t seen the house yet. It’s supposed to be a small farmhouse on the outskirts of a tiny village north of Inverness. It was part of a legal settlement.”

“A legal settlement?” Elena ignored the opportunity to explain; she wasn’t reliving that story with this man. As she searched for a safer topic, she belatedly remembered his comments to the attendant. He’d said, “It was a matter of life or death.” Maybe it hadn’t all been arrogance; he could have a loved one seriously hurt somewhere. She wondered if he wanted to talk about it.

“I don’t mean to pry, but I heard you at the counter. You seemed adamant about getting on this flight. I hope everything is all right with your family?”

His jaw tightened, and he turned his head away. He looked livid for a minute, and Elena was glad that she wasn’t the focus of his anger. Then as suddenly as the fury appeared, it left him with a sigh. “Nay, lass, nothing will ever be right again. I have no family,” he said with a voice full of sadness.

“I’m sorry,” Elena offered, not sure of how else to respond. She returned to looking out the window in order to give him some privacy. She knew what it was like to be alone in this world, to have your dreams ripped out from under you, to feel as though nothing would ever be right again.

After a moment, Faolan changed the subject. “How are you planning on getting to the Highlands?”

Elena jumped at the chance to ease away from topics that were more personal in nature. “I leased a Land Rover,” Elena continued, trying to keep the subject light, “I made a reservation at the Hilton in Inverness for tonight. Tomorrow I’ll drive to Fairth.”

They continued to chat about inconsequential things and discovered they had very little in common. She told him she was an attorney; he said he dabbled in investments. She liked sports; he didn’t. This was her first trip abroad; he was well-traveled. Soon the flight attendant returned to tell them to prepare for landing. Although Elena had enjoyed their brief conversation, she would be relieved to get away from him. From his sheer physical size to his long brooding glances, everything about him was too intense. It had only been a few short months since her break up with Marty, and Faolan was exactly the type of man she had sworn off for life: great looking, seriously confident with a tangible air of entitlement. Definitely not her cup of tea.

“I’m a little curious,” said Elena as they stood in the aisle waiting to exit the plane. “How did you manage to get on the flight? I thought it was full.”

She looked up and stifled a gasp. Despite being a foot taller than she was, he towered over her; his face much closer than she expected because of the cabin’s low ceiling. His look was positively dangerous, and his tawny eyes turned dark as he scowled. Their gazes locked for a minute, the air doing that strange burning thing around them again, just as it had done in the terminal. He bared his teeth in a tight, wolfish imitation of a smile that didn’t reach his eyes.

“I always get what I want. Eventually.”


  1. was lovely, my sweet Havan, but our time together was all too short. May I come back to...*whispers against Havan's neck and tries not to giggle as her silky hair brushes my nose*

    Thank you for having us!

  2. Great interview! Going to have to read the first one now that I have the second one!!

  3. that looks so good, thanks Havan. Brought and downloaded to the kindle. Ooh cant wait for bedtime. (Its where most of my reading gets done, LOL.

  4. I have Highland Shift, and now I've GOT to read it!

    First of all...Laura, we are souls sisters! I, too, had my first time in Chevy Vega! LOL..OMG...Did I just say that?

    But, seriously. Congratulations on your release. And you've been a huge inspiration to me in my own pursuit of self-publishing, and a huge support.

    And I love your writing.

    You're awesome, and it's so good to see you today!