Monday, November 26, 2012

Tasting Fire

Our guest today is author Shelly Holt, and I'll let her tell you a little about herself... Welcome, Shelly!


My name is Shelly Holt and I live in the middle of the harsh and unforgiving Mojave desert. I write my stories looking out of a window that shows sweeping desert views. Outside is a barren and severe landscape, yet inside my head lives a world filled with exotic shape-shifters come to life, pulled from the pages of myth and legend, ready to entice and seduce any reader brave enough to take them on.

It's funny, I never wanted to be a writer!  In 7th grade English, we were given an assignment.  We were told to write an original poem and turn it in the next day.  I was determined to turn in not a good poem, but a great poem.  I spent the whole night working on it instead of watching my favorite show, The Waltons.  (Hey! it was 1980.)  I turned it in the next day.  Apparently, I succeeded a little too well and was accused of copying it from a book. (1980 remember, no internet yet).  The teacher stated and I quote "this is too good for a seventh grader, where did you copy it from?"  Well, I didn't write for 30 years after that. In my 40's, after a life changing move to rural Nevada as a caregiver to my father, I realized I needed a way to earn a little money on the side.  I did some research on the internet and read all about a certain little book, about a certain little college student and a handsome billionaire with some ahem! (issues.)  I decided after reading that book, I could do that, and Tasting Fire was born. I'll admit it's been strange revisiting a talent buried deep inside for so long, forgotten, but apparently not lost. It's been an important journey and one I am quite thankful for and excited to see where it takes me.

Shelly Holt

 P.S. Mr. Jordan, I really did write that poem!


I wanted to write the shape-shifting novel that I had always wanted to read.  I was reading about highly descriptive, very sexy werewolves, but to my frustration as a reader, not a lot of thought was being put into how they came to be.  I personally am having a hard time with my suspension of disbelief.  I have realized lately that it has only gotten worse as I have gotten older. I was able to suspend my disbelief for J.K. Rowling and for Rick Riordan and was able to enjoy their work, but I think in general it's a part of my own aging process and will only get worse the older I get. 

When I decided to write a paranormal romance, I knew I would be competing against hundreds of other books.  I made an executive decision that to stand out, I would have to approach the storytelling from a very different prospective.

I thought back to my absolute favorite series by Sharon Shinn and picked apart what I loved about it.  I decided that her Samaria series had captured and held my attention, due to her highly intelligent premise and world building skills that had created a universe where her angels were not divine, but engineered in a lab by human colonists thousands of years in the future.  It allowed me to suspend my disbelief and fully enjoy her work. 

I decided that would be how I approached my own book as well.  I created a premise where shape-shifters evolved not by magic, but over thousands of years by means of a bacterial infection that combined the DNA of the human victims with that of animals.  I knew that if this infection was too easy to catch, everybody and their grandmother by the 21st century would be a shape-shifter.  In the plot I decided to make it fairly hard, but not impossible to become infected.  If you take a swim in the healing waters of a hot spring that does contain the thermophilic (heat loving) bacteria and then come into contact with a secondary DNA code while the bacteria is still in your system, your descendants could very well be shape-shifters. 

After I had created the method, I had to chose my shape-shifter to focus the plot on.  I sat down on the floor, and went though my bookshelf full of library discards.  I came across a charming little children's book about snow leopards and their babies that I had forgotten I even had.   I had purchased the book from the library bookstore for a whopping .25 cents and after I fell in love with the cubs in the book, I knew I had found my shape-shifter. 

Tasting Fire has strong spiritual overtones and extraordinarily well developed secondary plots that involve personal growth and fully defined characters.  All of these well designed aspects make for a truly unique paranormal romance.   I will warn readers at this point, if you want a book where the hero and heroine fall into bed within the first two minutes of meeting and have mindless sex, this is not the book for you!  If you are looking for a rich, textured romance, full of world building and character development, and if you want to lose yourself in an original, intelligent, romantic, SEXY, adventure, this is your book!

Thanks for having me on Book' Em North Carolina to share my experiences writing Tasting Fire with your readers today.


Shape-shifters have always walked the earth. Shrouded in myth and folklore, hiding in the shadows, watching and waiting. Advances in modern science are now about to reveal them to the world. Kai Tenzin is the self appointed leader of the Pari people. He and his kind evolved from the most reclusive predators on earth. They live and hunt in the most fearsome and rugged terrain known to man, the Himalayas. Kai leaves his small village where the mountains touch the heavens, determined to do anything to protect his people. When he is forced to enlist the aid of the beautiful American scientist Dr. Rae Hales, the last thing he expects to find is a woman who will ensnare his heart and endanger them all. Their action-packed adventure will take them around the world to discover the truth behind the legends and reveal the future of humanity.  


Nawang Wangdu walked through the hills of Himachal Prodesh, India.  He had to leave Hong Kong quickly.  The elderly Pari felt terrible about abandoning Dr. Hales, but he had no choice.  He had sent several of his men to get her out of Kai's apartment, but Interpol had gotten a hold of her first.  Nawang was a powerful man, but even he could not protect her from entire governments.

He also worried intensely about his son.  Kai had fallen off the face of the earth.  None of Nawang's contacts could locate him in the madness that followed.  Just as in the dream, he could feel the weight of those eighty-two years bearing full force down on him.  His long lost mother had told him it was all baggage and must be left behind.  Nawang would not now, nor ever consider his son's safety baggage, but Nawang had to face facts.  He was an old man.  His money and influence only went so far.  He had to have faith in the universe that it would all work out in the end without him.

The elderly shape-shifter knew in the depths of his soul that his time on earth was drawing to a close.  Nawang had to take care of his assets and disappear.  He gave each of his men two million dollars cash.  The successful businessman bowed low to each one of them.  Nawang thanked them all for their years of loyal service.  He then told all of his men to take their leave of him.  They should all be with their families during this trying time.


Shelly will award a $20 Starbucks GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:


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