Welcome Guest Author Stephanie Draven & Enter to Win Poisoned Kisses!

I'm pleased to welcome author Stephanie Draven to Cheeky Reads as a stop on her blog tour for her new Harlequin Nocturne release Poisoned Kissies! Stephanie was nice enough to answer a few questions for us, and I wanted to start us off with a sneak peek at Poisoned Kissies...
He can wear the face of anyone who has ever hurt him…

This former soldier-turned-gun-runner thinks his true identity is safe, but a mysterious woman is about to force him to face the tragic past he thought he left behind.

She can disguise herself as the only woman he’s ever loved…

It’s not easy to be a Daddy’s Girl when your father is Ares, Greek God of War. To thwart her father and all those who serve him, Kyra intends to assassinate a modern day hydra. To kill him, she needs to seduce him, but Marco Kaisaris isn’t the monster she thinks he is–and even if he doesn’t break her heart, he may still be the death of her.

Can they see past each other’s masks to find a love that’s more than skin deep?

Welcome Stephanie!

Your book Poisoned Kisses is the first of a new series called "Mythica". I'm a huge fan of Greek Mythology so I'm really excited to see a new series that uses those old myths in a new way. Can you tell us a little more about the premise behind the series and why you decided to base it on Greek myths?

First, I’d like to thank you for having me as a guest on Cheeky Reads! The central premise of the Mythica stories is that love turns men into monsters, sometimes quite literally. I tend to use the tagline, “What if the monsters of ancient myth still walk the earth...and what if you found out that you were one of them?”

I chose Greek myths because they are primal stories from so far back in our past that they still evoke basic fears about ourselves. I’ve always loved Greek mythology and the chance to update those stories and put a sexy twist on them is something that I relish.

Characters can really make or break a book for me and I love hearing from authors about how they would describe their hero and heroine. What three words would you use to describe each?

What a great question. Okay, let’s see:
Hero, Marco Kaisaris: Honorable. Wounded. Loyal.
Heroine, Kyra, Daughter of Ares: Brave. Dangerous. Vulnerable.

Your heroine is a nymph and I know from your blog that you are particularly interested in them and have written other nymph characters. What is it about nymphs that inspires you so much?

Nymphs are an archetype of women outside the realm of social constraints. They were powerful, deeply connected to nature, and independent. They didn’t need men, but when they fell in love, they loved intensely. They were everything the ancient Greeks feared about the nature of women, but also what they may have secretly desired.

Now that we know more about your characters, what was it about them that had you wanting to write that HEA for them? Was there a particular scene that was the most fun for you to write?

Kyra is such a badass with her sharp assassin’s knife and her casual indifference to the normal rules of human morality...that I was surprised to discover in her a very vulnerable core. When she falls for Marco, she falls so fast, and so hard, that it shames her. She doesn’t want to be pathetic. She just wants to be loved in return, but she knows better than to even hope for that.

Meanwhile, Marco hasn’t ever found anyone to truly understand him. He’s never met anyone as committed to any cause as he is. He’s very much alone, and he’s lost himself. Kyra helps him come to terms with what he’s become...and what he could be.

I desperately wanted these two to find their happy ever after. As for the scene that was most fun to write, I’m not sure I can pick just one, but every time Ares or Hekate made a guest appearance, I had a blast. Ares as a modern day arms dealer. Hekate as a fortune telling gypsy! I’m not comparing myself to Neil Gaiman but I was certainly inspired by American Gods, and those scenes made me grin.

I always find that authors have the best book recommendations. Have you read any good books lately or or a discovered a new author?

The most recent thing I’ve read is Jeannie Lin’s The Taming of Mei Lin, which I loveloveloved!

What's up next for you? Would you tell our readers a little bit about the next book in the series or what you are currently working on?

The next installment will be a novella about a young rock-star diva in Annapolis who unwittingly snares an ancient guardian of the sea with her siren song. After that, next year there’ll be a full-length novel about a mind-controlling Minotaur and a sexy sphinx!

In other news, I also write historical fiction as Stephanie Dray and my debut historical novel, Lily of the Nile: A Novel of Cleopatras Daughter, will be released in January 2011!

Do you love Greek or Roman Mythology? What about books that feature myths as part of their world-building or characters? Do you have any favorite myths you'd love to see featured in a book? Let us know and you can be entered to win a copy of Poisoned Kissies!
This giveaway open to US residents only.

Stephanie Draven is currently a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies. She lives there with her favorite nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books.

Stephanie has always been a storyteller. In elementary school, she channeled Scheherazade, weaving a series of stories to charm children into sitting with her each day at the lunch table. When she was a little older, Stephanie scared all the girls at her sleepovers with ghost stories.

She should have known she was born to hold an audience in her thrall, but Stephanie resisted her writerly urges and graduated from college with a B.A. in Government. Then she went to Law School, where she learned how to convincingly tell the tallest tales of all!

A longtime lover of ancient lore, Stephanie enjoys re-imagining myths for the modern age. She doesn’t believe that true love is ever simple or without struggle so her work tends to explore the sacred within the profane, the light under the loss and the virtue hidden in vice. She counts it amongst her greatest pleasures when, from her books, her readers learn something new about the world or about themselves. Stephanie also writes historical fiction as Stephanie Dray and has a series of forthcoming novels from Berkley Books featuring Cleopatra’s daughter.

Website: http://www.stephaniedraven.com/

Follow Stephanie on her blog tour with the following upcoming stops:
9/17/2010 - http://www.accessromance.com/blog/ - Access Romance
9/17/2010 - http://www.romancejunkies.com - Romance Junkies
9/18/2010 - http://www.cherrymischievous.com - Cherry Mischievous
9/19/2010 - http://cherylsbooknook.blogspot.com - Cheryl's Book Nook
9/20/2010 - http://dearauthor.com - Dear Author
Complete Blog Tour List Link: http://stephaniedraven.com/poisoned-kisses-blog-tour/


  1. I love any variety of mythology, from any culture. Books which feature myths have an added depth to them that makes them even more interesting. I'd love to see a book that features the myth of Persephone.


  2. Welcome Stephanie! I cannot wait to read Poisoned Kisses and I have it at the very top of my TBR pile. :)

    Thanks for being with us today and talking about your new release.

  3. hi stephanie! i can't wait to read poisoned kisses and lily of the nile - paranormal and ancient historical! how did you know two of my favorite things? :)

    k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

  4. Arceli, I LOVE the Persephone myth. I'm not sure how I would fit it into the Mythica series, but its been at the back of my mind while writing the sequel to Lily of the Nile under my other pen name. As an allegory to wrap the book in.

    Cheeky, thanks for having me, especially after our interview snafu!

    And KSunshine you sound like a reader after my own heart.

  5. I can't wait for your book to come out. I enjoy reading about mythology. I think anything featuring Mercury would be interesting.


  6. I am still a HUGE fan of stories about the gods of greek mythology - especially ones that question their immortality.

    Nice interview!

  7. Oooh, Mercury. The trickster god of Greek mythology. He could be fun!

  8. Sounds interesting as a premise and it gives me more hope for writing grittier novels for Harlequin. Good luck and many sales!


  9. Sascha, I've often wondered if my books were too dark for Nocturne, but so far my editor has been nothing but supportive!

  10. I love the Darkhunter series which used alot of Gteek and Roman mythology. Good interview and I cannot wait for your book.


  11. I love Greek mythology. I think most of the popular mythological characters have been covered, but I don't get tired of reading them. I enjoyed Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief because of that.

    seriousreader at live dot com

  12. Great Interview - ty for sharing!

    Poison Kisses looks great!

    I love all mythology references I would like to see some more asian related mythology referenced in some up coming releases.

    pams00 @ aol.com

  13. Thanks everybody! Also, Pam, you might want to check out Jeannie Lin's work. Right now she's writing historicals but I have it on good authority that she is brewing up a series with Asian-related mythology.

  14. Very nice , I like your blog, and really book mark to your blog....

  15. Thanks for being on the blog and congratulations on the new release!

  16. Congrats on your new release! Personally, I've often wondered why the Norse gods listen to Loki at all. I mean, what sane person would think that promising your sister-in-law to the giants in return for building Valhalla is a good idea? And of course, Loki's children are instrumental in Ragnarok. With all that going on, has no one thought, "hey, Loki is just bad news"?