Sunday, September 09, 2012

Interview with Taylor Keating and Giveaway of Fair Game - September 9, 2012

Please welcome Taylor Keating to The Qwillery. Taylor's most recent novel, Fair Game (Guardian 3), was published on August 28, 2012.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Taylor:  That I have to have silence. And I need to move blocks of text around constantly because I can’t write in proper sequence.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Taylor:  Plotters all the way, but when things take a turn during the writing process I do stop to evaluate and if it’s a good turn, I go with it.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Taylor:  Detail! I never have enough, no matter what it is. People should be able to read my mind as well as my book.

TQ:  What inspired you to write the Guardian series?

Taylor:  It all started out with the idea of a very smart heroine who unwittingly taps into a parallel dimension via cutting edge technology. We tossed in some magic, some bad guys, a sexy, strong hero who is literally adrift, his body safe at home while his astral traveling spirit is enslaved by our heroine’s (and the world’s) worst enemy. Then we added a sidekick who sometimes steals the show.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do to create your world and mythology?

Taylor:  Neither of us are gamers! But our sons are. You can’t imagine how many hours we had to spend watching them play to better understand gaming. They were thrilled to get to be the authorities in our relationships for a change.

As for additional research, Paula was working for an aerospace company at the time and a friend of hers was a computer systems analyst and developer. Paula would ask her all kinds of questions as to what would work, or at least sound plausible to the reader. Then we’d add magic.

TQ:   Describe Fair Game (Guardian 3) in 140 words or less.

Taylor:  In war torn Earth, River Weston creates Hollow Man, a computer generated holographic program designed to protect humans in battle. Except when it mutates with a virus, she puts her entire world in jeopardy and the only way to reverse it is to risk the life of the man she loves.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Fair Game?

Taylor:  The heroine and hero have been away from each other for awhile, and I loved the scene where they finally reunite. It’s emotional and River, the heroine is very, very clever in how she meets him without anyone but him knowing it’s her.

TQ:  In Fair Game, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?

Taylor:  River is a fae and a very complex character who is learning about her heritage and her magic, which made her difficult and rewarding to write. Nick Sutton was the easiest because we knew he’d never be a hero and we had such fun with him.

TQ:  Who is/are your favorite character or characters from the Guardian series?

Taylor:  Hands down I’d have to say Nick Sutton, River’s smart ass side kick. He’s not hero material at all but everyone seems to love him.

TQ:  What's next?

Taylor:  We just finished putting the final touches on a shiny new proposal and it’s in the hands of our agent now! We hope to share more soon!

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery

Taylor:  Thank you so much for having us today!

The Guardian Series

Fair Game
Guardian 3
Tor Paranormal Romance, August 28, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Video-game designer River Weston has seen her world torn apart. The streets of Earth have filled with looting, sickness, and fighting, but River knows that she is in a unique position to help. Drawing on her Fae magic, she creates a computer-generated program called Hollow Man, designed to protect humans during battle. Worlds away, Guardian Chase Hawkins has finally returned to his own body after years of astral projection. His mission now that he’s back: retrieve River, who is walking a dark path without even knowing it, and strip her world of the technology that has brought it to ruin. Hawk and his team arrive on Earth only to discover that River’s new computer program endangers the world all on its own. An old human virus has resurrected and mutated with a computer virus inside of Hollow Man, and it’s spreading uncontrollably. Hawk is convinced it’s too late to save Earth…but River isn’t ready to give up hope yet. River and Hawk find themselves on opposing sides, yet drawn together stronger than ever before. But a future with both of them in it could mean walking paths darker than either of them could ever have imagined.

An excerpt from Fair Game:
       River stubbed her toe on cardboard boxes stacked in one corner of the dark attic and tried not to swear. With a pencil-thin flashlight tucked between her teeth she stood still for a moment, listening, hoping no one had heard her, but the house below remained silent.
       She didn’t want her stepmother to know she was here. More importantly, she didn’t want Jake to know either. Her half-brother was too young for the problems life had thrust on him and it was better if he didn’t know about the shit going on in hers.
       As River sifted carefully through the contents of the boxes, not sure what she was hoping to find but certain that whatever it was, it had to be here at her childhood home, she tried hard to swallow her worry for Hawk. She would have known if he were dead. She would have felt the hole. But he’d been gone for nearly two weeks, cutting himself off from her so that she could no longer sense his presence or feel his soul next to hers.
       He’d said he would return for her, and the feminine part of her had wanted him to keep the promises he’d made to her no matter what.
       Which just went to show that a woman could only rely on herself — exactly as she’d been taught by the father who’d raised her.
       She had come here tonight, to her childhood home, in search of answers because of her father. Constable Jim Peters insisted he had been involved in top secret government experiments. River refused to believe it.
       “Trust me,” Jim had said to her a few days before he, too, had disappeared. “Your father was no simple farmer.” His blue eyes looked tired as he rubbed a freckled hand through his graying red hair and complained about needing a haircut. “Was he overprotective?” he asked. “Did he ever go off without explanation for extended periods of time?”
       She’d started to say no to the last because the disappearances had been so rare she’d almost forgotten them, but looking back, there had been at least three. She had no idea if there had been any in more recent years, when she had been less a part of his life. She couldn’t deny other oddities either. She had no idea how he’d earned a living. He could fix anything with an engine and four wheels. He’d taught her to shoot a gun, a rifle, and a crossbow, skills he’d later taught Jake. She and her mother had signed up for self-defense lessons and practiced with him. He’d taught them a few moves of his own. These had all been necessary skills in the world she’d grown up in after the war, and they proved nothing other than that her father liked to be prepared.
       But neither did they disprove what Jim had tried to tell her, and River wanted Jim to be wrong. She wanted at least one part of her life to be true. If she couldn’t believe in her own father, what was the point of believing in anything?
       River carefully replaced the last box. She’d found nothing other than the photos she’d already seen, the ones of the poor creature that had died in a mountain cave not too far from the house. She didn’t know where her father had gotten these photographs and that was what made her uneasy, although she refused to believe they meant anything bad. The man who had raised her had been honest and caring. Without a doubt he had loved her. He had not, however, always been open. She had to admit that.
       As she slid the box farther back on the shelf, she met with resistance. Curious, she reached her hand in behind to see what was blocking it. Her fingers brushed cold, smooth metal. A familiar jolt of energy made her smile and she drew a long cylinder off the shelf.
       This was the first toy she and her father had built together. Similar to a kaleidoscope, it could be held to the eye and the tube spun to create images. He’d been far more fascinated by it than she. Any time she’d played with it, he’d impatiently waited for his turn.
       A branch scratched against the windowpane and River started, spooked by the sudden noise disturbing the stillness. She put the toy back on the shelf.
       It wasn’t the noise that had unsettled her, she realized, the skin on her arms beginning to crawl. The house was too silent. No matter how quiet she’d tried to be, and she could be very quiet, Jake would have heard her. He had a sixth sense for things out of the ordinary, something he’d inherited from their dad.
       She didn’t walk to the door. Instead, she used her magic and transported herself across the room so as not to make the floor joists creak. She did not, however, dare jump to the main level because she had no idea what she might find if she did. She opened the door and started down the stairs, carefully stepping where the wood had been nailed to the frame. On the second level she passed the open door to Melinda’s bedroom. The room was empty.
       She wished Hawk were with her. She might have been taught to look after herself, but there was something to be said for backup. Seriously panicked, and even more cautious, she peered in the other two bedrooms. They were also empty.
       A scraping noise came from directly below her, in the vicinity of the kitchen. It sounded like a chair being moved.
       She didn’t like the thought of having to take that second flight of stairs to the main level because she’d be exposed, but she had no choice. It was either the stairs or go out a window. If she went out a window, she’d have to get back into the house again.
       At the foot of the stairs she paused in the darkness to let her eyesight adjust and to orientate herself. She turned to the kitchen door and placed her hand on the wood, listening hard but hearing nothing now. A funky smell seeped through the cracks, coppery and rank. Hope died. She pushed the door open.
       And jerked her head to the side, her lightning-fast Fae instincts reacting to danger a split second before her brain caught up. The bolt from a crossbow quivered in the doorframe a few inches from where her face had been.
       “Jake!” she cried out, knowing immediately where that bolt had originated. “It’s me. River.”
       Her words met with silence and she waited, debating what to do next and not daring to move. He was scared. She could taste his fear, as thick in the air as the unbearable stench. His next bolt might not miss. He was good, and now he had a better sight on his target.
       The overhead light clicked on, flooding the room. River blinked a few times, not wanting to accept what she saw. The walls, the floor, even the ceiling were coated in blood. The television had smashed on the tiles. One overturned chair sat on its side. Two mangled human remains lay near the kitchen table. And Jake, her beautiful, blond-headed brother, not yet fourteen, stood near the exterior door with one hand on the light switch, the other gripping the shaft of the crossbow that rested against his shoulder. He’d jammed a chair under the knob of the door. That was the scraping noise she’d heard.
       River didn’t ask him what had happened because she already knew. Rage unfurled inside her, sliding through her veins like floes of ice on a swift stream. Bright red dots of fury obscured her vision. Weres had come looking for her, finding her stepmother and youngest brother instead. Only Jake remained.
       A stern voice in the back of her head ordered her to focus on him. Her vision cleared, the rage subsiding but not disappearing. She stored it away, ready to withdraw it at a later time. Right now, Jake needed her.
       So did Melinda and Sam. Her throat hurt with the effort of keeping her emotions in check.
       “We have to bury them,” Jake said, so matter of factly he sounded exactly like their dad. River nodded, unable to speak.
       They worked through the night. By the time they finished, she had already decided where she would take him. What was important was getting Jake to safety. She had no idea when, or if, the ones who had done this might possibly return.
       The psychological damage done to him would have to be dealt with too, but at a later date. She didn’t want him to spend his life planning revenge against creatures that had been following orders.
       Neither did she want Weres following her and Jake. She had an excellent method of travel that would not leave a scent.
“Hang on, Jake,” she said, taking his hand. “We’re going for a little ride.”


Mind Games
Guardian 2
Tor Paranormal Romance, May 24, 2011
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

River Weston thinks her problems are over. She managed to escape the virtual world of her video game—and the clutches of the Dark Lord who attempted to enslave her—with body and mind intact. But her return to the real world is anything but easy. Framed for monstrous crimes she didn’t commit, and hunted by members of a dark government agency, it is all she can do to stay one step ahead of her pursuers.

Guardian Chase Hawkins gained his freedom from the Dark Lord’s prison, but it came with a heavy price. Trapped in another man’s body, his soul slowly deteriorating, Hawk knows he must return to his world—and his body—before the damage is irreparable.

Racing against time, River and Hawk know that in order to have a future together, they must work to reveal the secrets hidden in River’s past.

Game Over
Guardian 1
Tor Paranormal Romance, November 2, 2010
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

Video game designer River Weston is ready to sell her soul to smooth out the glitches in her latest project. When she unwittingly taps into a parallel dimension via cutting-edge technology, a Dark Lord is quick to take her up on her inadvertent offer. Trapped in the world she thought she’d created for her game, River finds herself in a very real alternate dimension that she must escape from before her soul can be used to unleash evil--upon this dimension and many others.

River’s only ally is the sexy and mysterious Chase Hawkins. A prisoner of the Dark Lord, Hawk is a man adrift—literally. His body safe at home under the watchful care of the Guardians’ scientists, his astral-traveling spirit has been enslaved by his people’s worst enemy, the Dark Lord. Clinging desperately to his sense of self, Hawk is determined to turn the tables on his captor before the connection to his body is lost. When the beautiful, achingly familiar River enters the picture, he vows he will do everything he can to save her from her bleak fate.

Drawn together with an inescapable force, Hawk and River must wrest her soul from the Dark Lord’s grasp before it’s too late.

About Taylor Keating

Taylor Keating is the pseudonym of writing team Catherine Verge and Paula Altenburg.

Catherine Verge
A multi published author in the romance genre under another pen name, Catherine is a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend. She loves dogs, sunny weather, anything chocolate (she never says no to a brownie) pizza and red wine. She has two teenagers who keep her busy with their never ending activities, and a husband who is convinced he can turn her into a mixed martial arts fan. Catherine can never find balance in her life, is always trying to find time to go to the gym, can never keep up with emails, Facebook or Twitter and tries to write page-turning books that her readers will love.
A maritime native and former financial officer, Catherine has lived all over Canada but has finally settled down in her childhood hometown with her family. Catherine also writes spicy romance under Cathryn Fox and Young Adult novels under Cat Kalen.

Paula Altenburg
The other half of Taylor Keating, Paula grew up in rural Nova Scotia knowing that at some point in her life she was going to be a fiction writer. Swapping Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey books with her father guaranteed she wasn’t going to be the next Jane Austen, much to the dismay of her English teacher mother. A degree in Social Anthropology from the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, again meant writing was the logical (meaning only) career path for her, although it did confirm her belief that learning is a life-long experience.
She now works in the Aerospace industry, which surprises everyone who knows her. Happily married, with two terrific sons, she continues to live in rural Nova Scotia but makes a point of traveling as much as she can. New York and Brussels are tied for her favorite cities of all time.

The Giveaway


What:  Three commenters will win one copy each of Fair Game (Guardian 3) from Tor! US/CANADA ONLY

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

What are some of your favorite video games?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

There are a total of 3 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry) and Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry).  This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook or Twitter mentions. You MUST leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US or Canadian mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Sunday, September 16, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. Wii sports for me. Count me in, thanks! Liene @ LLucane at yahoo dot com

  2. Amazing excerpt. I would love to read more. I am not a big game player. I just like to play block games.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  3. I'm not much of a gamer, to be honest. I think my favorite video game is Ms. PacMan (which soooo dates me, lol)!

    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 tweeted:


  4. Thanks for a great post and congrats on the new release! I don't play video games. I read :) My BF loves Call of Duty, Gears of War etc. and he always says that he loves that I read so much b/c then he can play as much as he wants w/out hassle.

    gfc: erin

  5. I am stuck on one game, Doom 3. Love to blow up the aliens!

  6. I don't play any video games.

  7. I love playing pac-man and Halo!

    +1 Comment
    +1 Follower of The Qwillery
    +1 Tweeted:

  8. I like Pac Man but I am really not a big game player. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book. I am a follower and email subscriber.

  9. Old school games here the originals like pacman and frogger for atari, sonic and mortal kombat on sega, mario brothers on nintendo and super nintendo.The games of today have too many graphics and the way the directional views change its too much for me I break out my old consoles and play my games all the time though.Thank you for sharing with us today I enjoyed your post,excerpt,blurbs and gorgeous covers.Have a fantastic week
    gfc follower
    wanda f
    blog post

    also follow via email

  10. I like The Mario Bros games :) Not very exciting, which is just my speed. My kids are the gamers in the family!

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  11. I love a lot of the older video games. Like just about any Mario, like Mariokart, Super Mario World on Super Nintendo. I also loved Pitfall on Atari(I am dating myself). I love, love Tetris. I am also a big fan of Angry Birds, my daughter and I see who can get the farthest.
    This sounds like a great book. This is a new author for me and love finding new authors to check out. Loved the excerpt. Thanks for the giveaway.
    +1 comment
    +1 follower: GFC-Chrisbails
    +1 shared on facebook & twitter
    The Qwillery: Interview with Taylor Keating and Giveaway of Fair...

  12. I'm not really a gamer. Probably the last video game that I played was Star Wars Pod Racers or Space Invaders. I have read Game Over and loved it! Thanks for the awesome giveaway! +1 Comment, +1 Follower

  13. The Super Mario Brothers games.

    I follow the blog.


  14. Decades ago, there was a game called Spectrum; I absolutely loved it. I would love to play it, again.

    This series sounds great; I'm going to check it out.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  15. Sonic. I was a huge Sonic fan. Mario Kart is fun and games like Tetris and Bejeweled are good to kill some time.

    -tweet -

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  16. beachhouse dot writer at gmail dot com

    What are some of your favorite video games?
    I like dig dug