Welcome to Fallen Angel Reviews, talented author of erotic romance, Nicole North.
Nicole writes exciting and electric stories. She has won many awards, teaches online workshops and writing romance is her first love. Not only has she garnered many fabulous reviews; but her work is absolutely excellent. She longs to live in the Scottish Highlands at least half the year, when she and her husband are not at their cozy home.
Now that we are seated, Nicole, the readers would love to hear about your latest story. Would you discuss it with us, please?
Absolutely! Thanks for having me here today and for that wonderful intro! My latest release is Beast in a Kilt in the Red Sage anthology Secrets Volume 29 Indulge Your Fantasies. Beast in a Kilt is second in the series.(Devil in a Kilt in Secrets Vol. 27 was the first) but you don't have to read them in order. They stand alone.
Beast in a Kilt: Scottish lady Catriona MacCain has loved Torr Blackburn, a fierce Highland warrior, since she was a young lass, but Torr only sees Catriona as his best friend's little sister. When Catriona's family promises her in marriage to a detestable chieftain, she desperately needs Torr to save her from a fate worse than death. But Torr is under the spell of a witch of the dark arts and is cursed to spend his nights as a kelpie water demon. He doesn't believe himself worthy of the virginal Lady Catriona. However, she is determined to seduce Torr and claim him… body, heart and soul, if only they can banish the curse and defeat the enemies who have vowed to possess and enslave them both.
I love the idea of a virginal but very adventurous woman trying to seduce an experienced man who is determined to not be seduced. It was a lot of fun to push Torr to the limits of his endurance. Although I'm sure he doesn't think so!
Would you like to tell us where you get your ideas for your stories? You have sizzling covers too, by the way.
Thanks! I feel very fortunate with the covers I've been given. In my first story, Devil in a Kilt, the hero shape-shifts into a hawk. When I was planning the second story, I wanted to hero, Torr, to shape-shift into something different but interesting. I turned to Scottish folklore. Kelpies are part of an ancient legend and when I read about them I was inspired to make Torr a kelpie. What are kelpies? They are water demons that live in Scottish lochs and they appear to be beautiful white horses (some say black horses, but I went with a white horse for my story.) Legend says they can shape-shift into handsome men and seduce the lasses. They are also said to be charming and lure people onto their backs before the jump into the loch and devour them. Torr doesn't do that, of course, but he is a bit volatile at times. I had to put some of that kelpie danger somewhere. I also get ideas from going to Highland Games, and two of my earlier stories (Devil in a Kilt, and Kilted Lover) were inspired by them.
Nicole, after you get out of bed, how would you describe your typical day?
One of the first things I do is make a fruit and yogurt smoothie in the blender and then drink it as I'm reading and responding to email, checking out blogs, writing blogs, or doing promo. After that I try to get into a story and write for most of the day. It doesn't always work out as planned, of course, because I have to do laundry, dishes and other horrid chores.
From what do you derive the most inspiration for your writing?
Some major things that inspire me are Scotland (the setting), Scottish lore and Scottish history. The Scottish Highlands are amazing and beautiful. They have a magical, mystical feeling to them. It's a perfect setting for paranormals like I write. Sometimes when I'm doing research, I'll read a bit of clan history or a Celtic fairy tale which inspires a story idea. Songs and music also inspire me!
What kind of writing space would your readers see if they came to your house?
One writing space is my cluttered office. I have too many books, both romance books to read and research books. It's time to clear out and donate some. But I prefer to write in either the living room in a comfy recliner, on the treadmill (it has a small desk attached) or outside on the porch in summer. In winter, I like to write in my bedroom near a large window so I can get more sunlight and warmth.
When composing what would you classify as your favorite part of a book to write? The beginning, middle, or end?
I would probably say the end because by then most of the story is formed and I can enjoy the whole story experience more. But it's always difficult to say goodbye to my characters. At the beginning of a story, it's sometimes a struggle to get all my characters and plot into place. The middle is also fun to write, but that's when I have to be sure I have enough happening.
Do you outline your stories or do you just write as you go?
A little of both. What I do is a little planning as I'm beginning a story. I want the characters' goals, motivations, and conflicts to be strong. I love the three act play structure. So I plan for that and a lot of conflict. I brainstorm what could happen. When scenes pop into my head, I write them no matter where they fall within the story and then line them up later. What works best for me is to write the whole rough draft, and then go back and flesh out the story on subsequent drafts.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I've just sold Scoundrel in a Kilt, the third story in this series. The hero and heroine are Brodie and Erin. In Beast in a Kilt, you will meet wicked, dark Brodie as the brother of Catriona. Playing matchmaker, she tries unsuccessfully to find him a woman to fall in love with so his curse will be broken. In Scoundrel in a Kilt, Brodie rescues a stunning blond woman from a rock in the sea. Where does she come from? She isn't a mermaid. She's a modern day high fashion model who has time-traveled. It's a fun story with a lot of contrasts and sexy heat. As for the shape-shifter aspect, Brodie is a selkie. Selkies are another Scottish legend which involves people who turn into seals when they put on sealskins.
Is there something about Nicole that the readers would never guess that would come as a complete shock?
I love to garden and grow flowers and vegetables. Just last night my husband and I ate a huge tomato (our first this year), along with pepper, and cucumbers from our garden.
If you could be invisible for one hour, what would you do and where would you go?
If it includes time-travel, I'd go back in time to the early 1600s Scotland and see what it was really like. It might be scary, I know, but I could learn things I'd never be able to read in a book. I love hands on research.
Nicole, can you share with the readers your website, blogs, myspace, or Facebook?
You learn from your publisher that you are taking a trip to a deserted tropical island for a week, and can choose three other talented authors to accompany you. Whom do you choose?
My good friend, Terry Spear, who writes wonderful werewolf romances for Sourcebooks. My other good friend, Dana, who always goes on traveling adventures with me. And my other good friend, Vanessa, who is so much like me it's scary. LOL! We'd have a blast!
What would you say is your greatest sweet that you absolutely cannot live without?
Chocolate. I've recently changed my eating habits a great deal and lost 18 lbs. No more junk food. So the chocolate has to be the real thing without the bad stuff in it, and preferably organic with over 75% cocoa. It's very dark and rich with very little sweetener. Mmm. Plus it's full of antioxidants.
Nicole, not sure if you are into cooking or the Food Network, but if you were chosen to be on a show with either Bobby Flay, Rachel Ray or Paula Deen, who would you choose, and what meal would you prepare?
This year I've gotten into watching cooking shows a lot more simply because I needed to learn how to cook. Since I've watched Bobby Flay more, on Iron Chef America and Throwdown with Bobby Flay and Next Food Network Star, and haven't watched the ladies as much, I'll choose him. I'm not sure which meal I'd prepare but it would need to be delicious and healthy. Perhaps something with salad and all the ingredients straight from the garden, wonderful cheese, etc. Some kind of fish would also be a good choice, maybe trout. My favorite food show is Chopped. I love the way the contestants have to be creative on the spot with no time to prepare beforehand. And that's something I enjoy doing when cooking, just create something out of an idea and ingredients I have on hand. Although I don't have to do it in 20 minutes. LOL
I appreciate you taking time for our interview today, Nicole, and I look forward to more of your mind-blowing stories.
Thanks so much, Linda! I've enjoyed it a huge amount!
CSM: This week we have Red Sage authors gracing Romantic Crush Junkies all this week. Nicole thanks so much for dropping by. I am so excited that you’re here.
Nicole: Thanks for having us!!
CSM: So tell us what’s happening with you?
Nicole: I’m excited to have my first novella, Devil in a Kilt, coming out in Secrets Volume 27 on July 1! I’ve also sold two other novellas to Red Sage. Beast in a Kilt for Secrets Volume 29 and Kilted Lover, an ebook coming out this fall. In case you haven’t noticed, I have a kilt fetish. LOL I’ll be at the RWA National conference in July signing books. And I’ll be teaching a few online writing workshops this fall.
CSM: What current or upcoming release do you have in the works for your readers?
Nicole: I want to tell you about Devil in a Kilt. A trip to the Highland Games turns into a trip to the past when modern day psychology professor Shauna MacRae touches Gavin MacTavish's four-hundred-year-old claymore. What she finds is a Devil In a Kilt she's had erotic fantasies about for months. Can Shauna break the curse imprisoning this shape shifting laird and his clan before an evil witch sends Shauna back to her time?
CSM: I know that Secrets Volume 27: Untamed Pleasures anthology consists of you and three other Red Sage authors. Could you share with the readers what it’s like to work with them?
Nicole: They’re fantastic and amazing! We’re working closely on promoting the book. We have several guest blog appearances together; we’ll all be at the RWA Literacy Autographing. We’ve done a couple chats. They’re a blast!
CSM: What is your favorite genre to write? Is there a genre that you haven’t written but would love to give it a go? Has there ever been a genre you just shook you’re head and said, “No Flipping Way!’? If so, what was it and why?
Nicole: My favorite genres (yes, more than one LOL) to write include paranormal, contemporary, historical, erotic, with a bit of suspense thrown in. I have never been incredibly interested in writing Western historicals, but I’ve read several and loved them. I also would not be interested in writing Young Adult, traditional or inspirational. I like a lot of sensuality and sexual tension in the books I write.
CSM: If you could be any character from your book who would it be? Why?
Nicole: I’d want to be Shauna, the heroine of Devil in a Kilt, because she gets the hot hunky guy in a kilt who only wants to give her pleasure!
CSM: I’m always curious to find out where an author does their writing and what their work space looks like. Please, share with RCJ’s reader’s about your work space, haven away from home or taking a squat spot where you do your best writing.
Nicole: I do my best writing on a laptop, either in a recliner in my living room or while walking on a treadmill. I have a small desk attached to it and my laptop sits on it perfectly. Walking also gets the creative thoughts flowing. I also have an office with a desktop computer, but I generally don’t write there because the chair isn’t as comfortable.
CSM: What was the defining moment that you realized you wanted to be a writer?
Nicole: I wrote some adventurous short stories when I was a kid around age 11 or 12. So that was when I realized what an incredible trip it was to create a whole world and the people in it and make them do whatever I wanted. It was almost as real to me as the real world is. I think that’s what drew me to romance. I read romance for years then one day I was reading a book with a hero I loved. I thought, why not create my own hero. He can be as hot as I want. He can say and do anything I want. An absolute fantasy. That’s when I became addicted to writing romance.
CSM: Who inspires you as a writer? What was you inspiration in your last and upcoming release?
Nicole: Sometimes the things that inspire me surprise me. It could be anything… a photo, a song, a music video, a commercial, an educational TV show. Scotland inspires me and so do Highland Games… which is what inspired Devil in a Kilt. When something inspires me it’s like BAM, and I almost go into a trance or a daze and my mind takes off with the imagery and possibilities. I love that feeling. The Highland Games also inspired my upcoming release, Kilted Lover. All those hot, muscular caber tossers in kilts… how could I not be inspired? LOL
CSM: Besides being a complete book junkie I am a music junkie as well. When I write I have a sound track ready and raring to go. Do you have a sound track playing when you write? What is it? Does it change with every story? How does music influence your writing?
Nicole: I do often listen to music while I’m writing, but I don’t have a soundtrack for every story. Sometimes I will have one song for a story, sometimes several. The song would embody the mood and emotion of the story. The lyrics might say how one of the characters feels about their situation. I usually listen to rock or Celtic music. I recently completed a Scottish historical romance novel where the main song that would really get me in the mood to write it was a contemporary rock song, The Reason by Hoobastank. The lyrics showed how the hero felt. What’s perhaps strange about this is that I don’t listen to historical music when I write historical stories. Though of course a lot of times I listen to Celtic music.
CSM: Now it’s time to get down and personal. Okay, you’re snowed in for a week in the Swiss Alps. You’ve enough fire wood and food to last out the blizzard raging outside. What are three things that you would have to have with you?
Nicole: My husband! And… hmmm… I had to think of what other two things I’d want. Probably my two cats, though they would hate flying to the Swiss Alps. LOL! I doubt I’d have phone or internet reception, so those are out. If I can’t take my cats, I’d probably want my laptop, though the battery wouldn’t last long so I couldn’t write. I do love going on vacation with my husband, like to the Outer Banks or wherever and not taking my laptop. Not checking my email. Just relaxing and seeing new places.
CSM: What is your favorite move; or TV show that makes you hunker down on the sofa and settle for the night?
Nicole: LOST! I’m a big fan, though not a crazed fanatic like some who know what every tiny detail means. I’ve seen every show at least once, a few twice. I feel it’s the best TV series ever created. I came to the show late, so I watched the first season on DVD in marathon form, three or four shows at a time. Sigh. That was nice!
CSM: If you could have any car in the world; would it be a slow rider or one that the wind has to hurry just to keep with you?
Nicole: It would be fast! I’m not a maniac driver, but following someone slow makes me batty. I’d probably buy some kind of sleek sports car and cute little SUV for road trips.
CSM: Please share your favorite quote with us?
Nicole: I have several favorite quotes. Here is one: "Two things only a man cannot hide: that he is drunk, and that he is in love." Antiphanes I like this because writing a man in love is sooo much fun!
CSM: Thanks Nicole for taking the time from your busy day to spend time with us and share interesting factos about yourself. This has been an amazing time getting to know you.
Nicole: Thank you!! I’ve enjoyed it so much!!
CSM: Where would a reader be able to find you and your books?
Beast in a Kilt by Nicole North from Red Sage Secrets, Vol. 29
Genre: Historical Erotic Romance Novella (Scottish/Shapeshifter) Publisher: Red Sage
What I Liked: After reading Nicole North's first historical erotic romance novella (also a Scottish/Shapeshifter book), Kilted Lover, and enjoying it, I was thrilled to hear that her next book had come out. So I immediately bought it. Given the fact that sequels usually disappoint me (I'm looking at you, Legally Blonde, X-Men, George Lucas, Matrix, Pirates of the Carribean... okay, I have to stop somewhere, but I could really go on and on and on... Disney... okay, I'm back), I was leery of this sequel. First of all, I'm not super crazy about the time-travel elements (which this story did not have), although I thought she handled that element in her first book better than most. And second, my fear of sub-par sequels nearly kept me from buying this book.
It would have been a shame if it had. I actually thought this book was better than the first. It had all the elements of the first story that I loved: the sensuality in addition to the hot sex, a really fantastic alpha hero, and of course the Scottish Highlands. There is something magical about the way Nicole North writes erotic romance relationships. Whatever magic wand she's got in her head to make it work, she Tim-Gunn's it right out of the park. She manages to make each sex scene absolutely vital to the progression of the relationship while also integrating important character development into the non-sensual parts of the book.
With erotic romance on everyone's radar now, I wouldn't be surprised to see Nicole North on the list of authors who have won an erotic romance RITA when RWA finally adds that category. She is an excellent writer, and I hope she writes many more of these Scottish Shapeshifter erotic romances in the future.
Book Blurb: Scottish lady Catriona MacCain has loved Torr Blackburn, a fierce Highland warrior, since she was a young lass, but Torr only sees Catriona as his best friend’s little sister. When Catriona’s family promises her in marriage to a detestable chieftain, she desperately needs Torr to save her from a fate worse than death.
But Torr is under the spell of a witch of the dark arts and is cursed to spend his nights as a kelpie water demon. He doesn’t believe himself worthy of the virginal Lady Catriona. However, she is determined to seduce Torr and claim him… body, heart and soul, if only they can banish the curse and defeat the enemies who have vowed to possess and enslave them both.
Kilted Lover by NicoleNorth
Genre: Spicy Romance, Contemporary
Leslie went to the Scottish fest with the man that was becoming more friend and less boyfriend. She didn't expect to have such a commotion around her and the amulet that her grandmother handed down to her. When it ends up that she needs rescuing Scott MacPherson jumps at the chance to rush in and save the gorgeous red head that caught his attention. The results leave them not only fighting for Leslie's life but also trying to fight the hot smoldering attraction between them that is getting harder and harder to ignore.
Who doesn't love a hot man in a kilt........not me. This book was fabulous and not just because Nicole North manages to keep Scott in a kilt for most of the beginning of the book. I really liked this story and the idea behind it. Scott was really the perfect male hero and Leslie's actions and words sometimes had me laughing out loud as I read.
I would for sure purchase some more of Ms. North's books especially if they deal with more good looking Scottish men.
4 - Star Review of Kilted Lover
"Leslie is a bit naive and virginal, but she doesn't want to stay that way. When we first meet Leslie she is contemplating her relationship with her boyfriend and why she is still with him. After meeting him I would have to agree. Scott MacPherson is actually pretty sexy, and the kilt does work wonders in the heat level. Scott is a modern day man with old school chivalry that it a pleasure to see. Scott's determination to keep Les safe brings on a sexual chemistry that I didn't expect. The sexual acts between Scott and Les are hot, and they live up to Les' dreams of a sexual partner that leaves her satisfied.
" Let’s admit it, ladies…there are few things more irresistible than a strong man in a kilt. That and the promise of a little humor are certainly what inspired me to pick up Nicole North’s novella Kilted Lover. This is a light and sexy read with an element of danger to it that keeps the action moving, and I found reading it an agreeable way to spend a few hours.
In this story, Ms. North gives us a hero and a heroine who are both entertaining and sympathetic. Leslie strikes a humorous chord from the beginning with her reaction to Scott, all but drooling over him at the Scottish Games, wondering if he wears underwear under his kilt, and daydreaming about the correlation between the size of his hands and feet and that of his sexual equipment. Scott is strong and passionate and wears a kilt the traditional way, much to Leslie’s delight. And he is just plain nice as well. What else can you ask for in a man?
The love scenes between Leslie and Scott are passionate and playful. Leslie has always been a “good girl,” and Scott brings out the assertive temptress in her. He also encourages her to indulge her kinky side as they watch their exhibitionist neighbors, and they have sex on just about every surface of the boat Scott is staying on. The only thing that stands between these two is Leslie’s boyfriend Fletcher and the guilt they feel regarding him. Having been hurt in the past, Scott is reluctant to poach on what might be considered another man’s territory. He shows himself to have scruples instead of simply thinking with his little head.
Overall, I found this to be a cute and sexy story. Although the paranormal element felt like something of an afterthought, I still found reading Kilted Lover enjoyable. There is just something about a man in a kilt…too bad we don’t see many of them around these days.
~~Bobby ~ BookWenches Reviews
SECRETS VOLUME 27 UNTAMED PLEASURES
REVIEWER TOP PICK
"Devil in a Kilt" by Nicole Northhas Shauna MacRae being thrust into the past after handling a claymore at the Highland Games. Gavin MacTavish believes Shauna has been sent to be his wife, hoping she can help break the curse placed upon him by a vindictive witch. Can Shauna convince Gavin of the truth, will Gavin be able to win Shauna's heart? Will these two lovers be able to overcome the evil that threatens them both? Nicole North has penned a creative and interesting time travel romance. This could easily be pushed into a longer novel, as it ends much too quickly, leaving the reader wanting more.
~~ NIGHT OWL REVIEWS Erotic Anthology SECRETS VOLUME 27 is the most enjoyable erotic anthology that I have ever read!
DEVIL IN A KILT—Nicole North North Carolina--Present Day Scottish Highlands—1621
Shauna MacRae has been fantasizing about the sexy Highland hunk on the cover of a romance novel for weeks, and in an effort to end her distraction she goes to the modern day Highland Games wearing her grandmothers antique brooch. After a mysterious highlander tricks her into touching an equally old sword she finds herself ensnared in Gavin MacTavish’s 400-year-old castle and meets her fantasy hunk in the flesh.
But Gavin and his clan are caught in an evil witch’s curse. He’s hiding a dark secret and his demented father is convinced that Shauna is the only woman who can break the curse. But will she stay in the past or return to her own time before the witch is defeated?
Nicole North does a fabulous job blending the present day and the 16th Century Highlands. Shauna brings modern day sexuality to a time when men were real men. The combination is sure to leave readers panting for more. I also enjoyed the witty dialog as these two very different main characters found true love.
~~ Mel Mason - RRTErotic
“Devil in a Kilt” by Nicole North Shauna MacRae should be happy that she’s met the man of her dreams, but meeting Gavin MacTavish throws her back in time to the Highlands of 1651. Now, Shauna has to break a curse, fight a witch, and find a way for her and Gavin to stay together. I’m a sucker for a tortured hero. Make him a Scottish laird, and I’ve got everything I need. “Devil in a Kilt” has more than a sexy Scotsman, though. It’s a sensual, exciting story full of romance. Gavin being a cursed shape-shifter makes “Devil in a Kilt” a little different than other time travel stories. In “Devil in a Kilt,” the guy is hot, the sex is hotter, and the story is romantic and fun.
With wonderful stories and interesting characters, Secrets 27, Untamed Pleasures fulfills secret fantasies. Reviewed by Nannette ~~JoyfullyReviewed.com