The Stones are back. Let the OMGs begin. Angel Payne and Victoria Blue's explosive series continues. Are you ready for Margaux and Michael's story?What came first? The princess or the shoes? And does it really matter? My name is Margaux Asher. Don’t be afraid to ask how it’s spelled though I may enlighten you, anyway. Yes, I’m that Margaux Asher. The attitude icon. The bitch in the latest heels. The princess of the PR game. Just don’t bring up the queen. Mommie and I aren’t on comfortable terms. Last winter, I learned a secret that Andrea Asher has hidden from me since my birth—by another woman. And my real father? Josiah Stone, one of the world’s richest men. Dream come true, right? There’s a lot of baggage attached to that answer. And now, Michael Pearson wants to help me open it. Michael. My six-foot-three, golden god of a dilemma. He’s patient, indulgent—and don’t get me started on his passion—but he wants too much. He wants all the secrets. What would he say if he knew my birthright was only the start of my life’s mess? What would he do if he learns…I’m no perfect princess? Someday, my princess will come…
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SECRETS OF STONE SERIES
*NO PRINCE CHARMING (SECRETS OF STONE #1) IS NOW ON SALE FOR .99 PENNIES!*
* NO MORE MASQUERADE (SECRETS OF STONE #2)*
Hi there. I'm Angel: book lover, writing addict, hopeless romantic, pop culture geek and avid shoe lover. **I have a monthly newsletter now! Sign up for it right here: http://eepurl.com/LoNkz. It's a cool way to get exclusive info, talk hot heroes, learn about new items in the Angel Payne store, talk hot heroes, further the pie or cake debate...and oh yeah, did I mention talking hot heroes? A bit about me... I've been hooked on books since I was a kid but it got worse in my twenties, when I discovered romances--the hotter, the better. Growing up in Southern California, with lots of surfer manliness surrounded me, was certainly a good boost for reading about delicious alpha guys and the women who adore them. When I learned I had a knack for telling these stories too, I guess you could say I was doomed--though my path toward romance novelist took a few detours via a concert-reviewing gig for my college newspaper (free show tickets...backstage passes...that was a no-brainer), artist interviews for a Beverly Hills dance music mag, personal assistant work for a record producer, dance club disc jockey, and a lot of fun in the hospitality industry. These days, I still live in California, and have found an amazing alpha guy of my own who was brave enough to marry me. We live on a street that looks like Brigadoon, with our beautiful daughter. I have the best life ever, and never forget to thank the Big Guy Upstairs for it, either.
Victoria Blue lives in her own portion of the galaxy known as Southern California. There she finds the love and life sustaining power of one amazing sun, two unique and awe inspiring planets and three indifferent, yet comforting moons. Life is fantastic and challenging and everyday brings new adventures to be discovered.
Name Victoria Blue and Angel Payne
Angel: Do I have to??
Where are you from:
We are both from Southern California!
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
Victoria: I actually grew up on the East Coast and landed in California after serving some time in the military. I met my husband in SoCal and the rest they say…is history.
Angel: I’ve lived here my whole life. I literally grew up in the City of Orange, in the heart of Orange County, California. I went to college here, too, and have learned it’s a pretty fantastic place to live—though my bucket list includes living in Paris and San Francisco for at least a year each.
Tell us your latest news?
Victoria: Now I juggle between owning another business with my husband, raising two teenagers and writing. I’ve always loved staying busy, so some things never change.
Angel: And…we also have a NEW BOOK OUT! Everyone make sure to check out NO MORE MASQUERADE, the 2nd Book in the Secrets of Stone series. We are very proud of it.
When and why did you begin writing?
Victoria: I started writing with Angel’s encouragement because reading was consuming me and writing just seemed to be the next step on the path. She encouraged me to try an online role playing group and I quickly became addicted to other people’s reactions to what I wrote.
Angel: I’ve been writing my whole life. I wrote my first novel at the age of 11. It was about a family in the space age who found a magic key that took them back in time to visit other places and historical periods on earth.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Victoria: Probably the moment we sent NO PRINCE CHARMING to the formatter. It became very real for me. I broke down in tears.
Angel: I started writing romance back in the mid 90’s—and back then, you entered a lot of contests to get feedback from people. When I placed first in a contest, it felt very real. About 2 months after that, I landed my agent—and we sold that book to Kensington Publishing.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Victoria: I guess just seeing if I could really accomplish something so amazing.
Angel: My dad bought me one of those blank journals for my birthday. There seemed no other purpose for it in my head OTHER than writing a book. That was when the space-age family was born.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Victoria: I write from my heart, more of what feels right, what I think the characters would actually do.
Angel: Words are magic to me. I try to stretch for what is going to make the sentences flow and be lyrical together. And I LOVE writing snappy, sarcastic dialogue. If I were to describe my style, it’s edgy with an overtone of poetry.
How did you come up with the title?
Victoria: *Laughing* Thank God for Southern California traffic…we seem to do our best thinking when we are stuck in traffic.
Angel: Or the shower. Don’t forget that one, either! We like to riff off each other. And then sometimes, we think we “have it” but we don’t…so we circle back around and revisit the thing until it feels right. We are SUPER thrilled with the title to book 3 of this series: NO PERFECT PRINCESS. That book will be out in early Spring 2015.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Victoria: I think we are both suckers for love, so you will always see a good love story in my writing.
Angel: What she said! LOL. I generally love to write the kinds of books I like reading: well-rounded characters thrown into circumstances that test their characters and their hearts.
How much of the book is realistic?
Victoria: Again, I can only speak for me, but it’s more about keeping the characters true to themselves, that’s what I strive for more than anything.
Angel: Yes. I agree. You can definitely play with the layout of a city, or invent a car or shoe that doesn’t really exist, but keeping the characters as real, breathing, entities is the biggest key of all for us.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Victoria: Some of them are.
Angel: To some extent, some things are. We are definitely able to write about Southern California with a lot of knowledge! But I can say that I LOVED researching the European cities for the new book. Though I’ve never been to Italy, all the Parisien scenes were a joy…wonderful memories for me.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Victoria: The Twilight series changed my life. I know that sounds crazy, but it did. I was not a reader…at all, until I read that series. And I read it late. I think…Eclipse maybe? Was in the theaters when I picked up the first book for the first time.
Angel: Oh, my gosh. That’s a long list! When I was a teen, it was Babysitter’s Club, Nancy Drew, and of course, the Judy Blume books. In college, I was an English major so I devoured so many of the classics. To this day, I remember reading Gone With The Wind for a third time, and of course, everything Jane Austen EVER wrote. Believe it or not, I’m a huge Shakespeare fan, as well. When you see his plays or sonnets performed the right way, they become true magic. More recently, I have loved Ken Follett’s historical books—he is AMAZING—and in the romance genre, I am blown away by Cherise Sinclair, Christina Lauren, JR Ward, and Lexi Blake.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Victoria: Obviously Angel, and for me, Shayla Black was instrumental because of the role playing group I got involved in, and I still want to write like J R Ward when I grow up.
Angel: Definitely Shayla. She is a rock for me. I also owe Carrie Ann Ryan a mountain of hugs for everything she’s advised me on. My very first mentor was Kat Martin. To this day, so much of her advice has clung to my mind and heart.
What book are you reading now?
Victoria: I’m waiting for the release of Christina Lauren’s next book: Dirty Rowdy Thing
Angel: I have 3 going right now. Almost finished with Ella Sheridan’s Teach Me, which is GREAT, and also loving the House of Rule series by Lynda Chance. I’m also LOVING Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Victoria: I love Roxy Sloane and I enjoy the darker side of things so Skye Warren is amazing.
Angel: I’ve recently been turned on to MS Parker. I love her crisp style. Nashoda Rose is amazing, too! And Lucian Bane’s stories are so original.
What are your current projects?
Victoria: I’m working a project with Gracie Lonsdale at the moment, and then book 3 of this series and then hopefully my first solo project in April, but those are not definite, so no mud slinging if they don’t stick! LOL.
Angel: I’m working on the first book in a new series about a woman who’s a member of the first western film crew to be allowed into a very secretive island kingdom in the middle of the Mediterranean. She falls in love with the king, of course. The book will be out in January 2015. After that, I’ll be working on No Perfect Princess with this lovely lady!
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Victoria: So easy…Elisa and Anna….they go together as one.
Angel: I owe so much to the readers who have been true-blue and right there since the beginning. Their support means the world! And Daniel di Tomasso direct-Tweeted me once, wishing me great luck on our books. It’s so dorky, but that meant the world.
Do you see writing as a career?
Victoria: One of several at the moment.
Angel: I sure hope so!! LOL.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Victoria: NOT one single thing.
Angel: We put our hearts into this one. Very proud of it.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Victoria: I think just from wanting to take the love of reading to the next level. As in why not give it a try?
Angel: Books and stories have been in my blood since I was three years old. It’s a part of my DNA. It’s just always been there.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here’s a special snippet from NO MORE MASQUERADE for everyone!
Search for the upside.
It was one of Kim’s favorite things to bark at me when I turned, in her words, into “moody dickhead Jamie.” Usually, the term earned her nothing more than a glare and growl in response.
This time, the label probably fit.
Which meant that finding the “upside” wasn’t an option. It was a necessity. My gut torqued on the grim acceptance. I had to make things right with her again…somehow. Things in Rome had gone from cracked to crumbling inside an hour, a situation I could only partially blame on the disaster known as my brother. But Trey had been using his leverage on me for years as the diving board into his lake of licentiousness. Wasn’t I used to his fuckery by now? Why did it grate on me so deeply this time?
The answer came as easily as a gaze across our suite at the Hôtel Fouquet—and the woman standing out on the terrace, watching twilight take over the avenues converging on the Eiffel Tower. She was dressed for our Seine dinner cruise in a wine-colored dress with a fitted bodice and sparkled belt over a layered skirt that had a graceful life of its own with every move she made. Though the skirt ended just below the knee, it might as well have been a mini for all the ideas it gave me. Or maybe those came from simply gazing at her from behind, my stare feasting on the swoop of her neck and the perfect angles of her face, now in profile to me. I literally clenched my fists, fighting the urge to join her out there—but if I did, we’d never make it out the door in time to board the boat. Within five minutes, her neck would be laid waste beneath my lips as her body undulated on the bed, spreading at my command. And she’d love every second. I’d make damn sure of that.
Anything not to lose her.
A fact Trey had clearly—and gleefully—figured out.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Victoria: Some days I just need more hours in the day. But that’s not a problem for only writers, right?
Angel: Inevitably, I’ll get a great idea for a new story, and it always happens about 2/3rds of the way through the one I’m working on…so then I want to write “they all died, the end.” LOL! Seriously, I always have to work on focus. It take discipline but once I’m in the groove, the words start flowing and it feels great. But anyone who thinks that writers just sit down at the keyboard and find sentences flowing out with effortless ease…is mistaken. Sometimes it does take work, just like any other job.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Victoria: This is a hard question. I’m going to pick J R Ward because of her use of words to make something so ordinary sound extraordinary. I will never forget the way she described bare trees in the moonlight on a winter’s night. That seems pretty average right? But no, she said they were skeletons stretching to reach the moonlight or some amazing shit like that. It was the most beautiful description; your mind could paint the picture for you. That’s what I want to do.
Angel: Ohhhhh gosh…I cannot name just one! Books are magical windows into other worlds. A book is such a treasure to me, whether it’s JK Rowling sweeping me away to Hogwarts or Ken Follett immersing me in the world of the 16th century cathedrals. Anytime somebody has the courage to open their heart onto the page, it’s an amazing gift to me as their reader.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Victoria: That can be as much or as little as you want to do, really. We went to four cities last year. We’ll see what this year holds for us. I love meeting the fans, it’s tons of fun.
Angel: Not as much as I’d love to! I love to travel, and I love meeting readers. It is, hands down, the icing on my cake in this journey. I hope we’ll get to go to a lot more conferences in the future.
Who designed the covers?
Victoria: Rachel Rivera from Parajunkee Designs is the most brilliant cover artist ever!!
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Victoria: You’re going to laugh, but I think coming up with the marketing items is the hardest part.
Angel: I stress very hard about making sure the stories are riveting, moving, and engaging enough. Lots of sleepless nights turning plots over in my head…
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Victoria: OMG thank you from the bottom of my heart for the love and support. You people are awesome.
Angel: Only that they are the reason I knock myself dead over every book and stress over every word. Making it perfect on every page is worth it because of the readers who gain enjoyment out of the stories.
What makes you laugh/cry?
Victoria: My husband, my kiddos and my cats. Oh, and Key and Peele.
Angel: We definitely share a love for Key and Peele! When we need a good stress reliever, we grab ourselves a little “Liam Neesons” or “Meegan” action from them. My kid is the coolest in the world for making me crack up over the silliest little things. I love to sob over great books and beautiful music, too. Some songs just get me right in the gut. We always pick a “theme song” for each of the books we do together. For NO PRINCE CHARMING, it was Not a Bad Thing from Justin Timberlake and NO MORE MASQUERADE’S theme song was My Heart is Open featuring Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani. Every time I hear one of those songs, I bawl!
**By the way, our SECRETS OF STONE Spotify playlist can be accessed here: Secrets of Stone
Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Adam Levine or Jared Leto for obvious reasons. BOL
Angel: I’m going to get esoteric—but I’m super serious. It would be Mahatma Gandhi. The man faced so much hatred in his life and confronted it with so much love. He did so much for his people, yet accomplished it without killing people. I imagine just being in the same room with him would be incredible.
What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Victoria: I want to be cremated.
Angel: Me, too. And then I want to be sprinkled on the ocean so I can swim with the dolphins.
Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Victoria: All things Pacific Ocean.
Angel: I’m a total gym rat. Is that a hobby? I’m also a PicMonkey whore. And of course…reading!! A lot!
What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Victoria: I actually do not watch TV and I drive Angel nuts because of it. She does have me addicted to Key and Peele though, so I watch them on YouTube and die laughing. I like romantic comedies and James Bond type stuff.
Angel: It’s true. I love Key & Peele, and I’ve also followed Saturday Night Live pretty much for 20 years. Great comedy is SO hard to do. But my favorites are the outstanding things in scripted television right now. Some of the best writers in the world are creating and writing things for TV. I pretty much worship Joss Whedon, Ryan Murphy, Shonda Rhimes, and JJ Abrams. I pick everything apart by them, dissect it for the great stories that they tell. Scandal, Nashville, Reign, and The Flash are my weekly go-tos. And when a new season of House of Cards or Sherlock comes out, you can write me off the grid. I just started binging on Sleepy Hollow, too. Wow, is that Tom Mison just uber delicious.
Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:
Victoria: I’m a lifetime Vegetarian and my favorite color is green. I like pop music and I adore, and I mean adore Maroon 5.
Angel: I love anything fried. Gawd, it’s my biggest weakness. Love all the colors, especially if they’re blended in a sunset. Twilight is my favorite time of the day. I worship the band Muse. They’re amazeballs.
If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Victoria: I was once an Air Traffic Controller and I am still an accountant when I go to my “day job.”
Angel: Broadway star. Ballet dancer. Lion tamer. Yoga instructor. Daniel di Tomasso’s personal assistant. Perfume tester. Podium girl at the Tour de France. Stunt bike rider. Cirque du Soleil cast member. Investigative reporter. Ellen’s DJ. Fighter jet pilot. Batgirl. Hmmm, I think that covers it.
She looks forward to seeing what's next!