No Strings Attached Is Here!

Here’s to another great book bday for KStrassel!

Deadly Ever After

Today’s brew: Sangria! Because that’s what Leah would drink.

All my book babies are special, but here’s why No Strings Attached is close to my heart.  It was born in the most organic way possible, out of a conversation over text. A friend of mine enlightened me that someone I thought was a model was a male escort.


I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Maybe I was envious of a woman who had the brass tacks to call an escort agency and hire a man to show her a good time.  It seems like a simple thing to do, but it’s not. But even more than that, I couldn’t stop thinking about the guys. Talk about work/life balance problems. How does an escort go to work and then come home to his girlfriend or family? How would his personal life fare with a job like that?

So I started to…

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It’s All Ancient History with Veronica Scott

Sweet mother of all things holy! Is it really almost the end of August? I promise you, The Saving is fast approaching. After that… I’ve got a trick or two up my sleeve 😉  I guess you’ll just have to pay attention to the updates on my website.

In the meantime, I’m breaking out the big guns. I’ve got fellow FF&Per, Veronica Scott, to review her novel, GHOST OF THE NILE. Wow! There’s a reason she’s part of the “big gun” arsenal.

If you didn’t already know, Veronica Scott is a Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog. She grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.

Just amazing creds! I’m honored to have her by the blog. You can follow her here:

If you’re looking of poetic romance, you’ll want to buy her book here:
Barnes & Noble
Apple iBooks

Onto the review…



I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the gorgeous cover that does a perfect job of capturing the tone of this story. It’s dark, soft and carries a hint of mystery and intrigue. All of Veronica’s covers are really perfect for the romance sub-genres that she writes in. That said, I opted to review this book over her others because I have a deep love for Ancient Egyptian culture. With my BA in art/architectural history, A.E. was one of my favorite time periods to study. Down in NYC, the Met’s A.E. exhibit is just breathtaking after dark. Needless to say, Veronica had me from the start with the setting alone.

To say this seasoned vet-author has a beautiful voice is an understatement. Her prose is downright lyrical at times, and the tone is perfect for an historical setting. The story follows Periseneb, sent by the goddess Ma’at, back into the land of the living in order to settle a 200 year old injustice that triggered a chain of events devastating a once prosperous estate. He travels back to his home and the memory of a woman he knows all too well, only to discover his true mate, Neithamun, centuries after his own death.

This was a beautiful depiction of ancient culture and customs. Veronica paints a wonderfully warm and vivid picture of the Nile in its glory. I’m gushing I know… I do usually like my PNRs to be a little dark and gritty, but I must say, no matter what your genre of choice, Veronica Scott is a masterful author and sure to win your heart. (It doesn’t hurt that she’s not afraid to let loose in the bedroom scenes, if you know what I mean. She’ll get your blood pumping too). Yes! You should definitely check out Veronica Scott’s work.

I love being able to ask these questions…

  1. This is a beautiful story set in a classic time frame. Please tell us a little bit about what sparked your inspiration for the premise? (And how did you come up with these names?)
    I’d been wanting to write a novel set on an ancient Egyptian estate for some time. I was fascinated by the fact that day to day life changed little along the Nile for thousands of years, making it believable that a man could return home after 200 years and find a way to fit in. Telling a story about a ghost was intriguing to me because of the nature of Egyptian beliefs about ghosts. I was also inspired by the movies “Shane” and “High Plains Drifter”, plus a dash of “Ghost and Mrs. Muir”. My plot is my own of course but those are some of the influences. As to the characters’ names, I have a ton of scholarly research books and refer to several lengthy charts of ancient Egyptian names, and the time frames where they appear. I try to use authentic names from roughly 1550 BCE and older. Nothing in the Greek or Roman times obviously – too modern for my books. Occasionally I’ll make up a name, based on the actual names, but not as often as I did in the early books. I’ve done a lot of research in the past four years since I first wrote Priestess of the Nile! I try to pick names that flow well for modern day readers and fit my character.
  2. What other projects do you have lined up?
    I have the first two books in a new science fiction romance series at the developmental editor, with two more volumes planned. I’m writing a novella set in ancient Egypt for a boxed set and after that will be the next Star Cruise series novel. I have several sequels in mind for the various Nile novels but probably not until next year. Oh, and the sequel to Wreck of the Nebula Dream is plotted but not written. (Readers ask me for that one all the time!)
    (JC: Busy gal!)
  3. If you could have dinner with any of your characters, who would they be? (you may pick more than one).
    I think Nick and Mara from Wreck of the Nebula Dream. Find out what they’ve been up to since their adventure, how surviving the disaster has affected their lives…. In the Egyptian series I’d have dinner with my Pharaoh, and let him invite all the other characters! No one says no to Pharaoh!
  4. Is there a book that has made a lasting impact or an influence on you?
    I’d say the combined works of Andre Norton, because she was my first science fiction and fantasy inspiration. She “made it ok” for me to believe I could write scifi (and add a lot of romance). On the Egyptian side, Mara, Daughter of the Nile, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. It’s a classic YA, which I read in elementary school.
  5. (I’m guessing I know the answer, but…) If you could live in any other time when might that be?
    I might visit ancient Egypt (and bring back copious quantities of jewelry) but I wouldn’t live there. I’m too used to my modern comforts. I think I’m pretty content here and now actually.
  6. What’s currently playing on your iPod/CD player/music app?
    I’ve been spending a lot of time on youtube actually. I love to watch elaborate Bollywood dance clips. “Aaja nachle” is my favorite. (This version: ) I also love the clip compilations like “Bironic Starships” and “Shut Up and Dance” with movie scenes. And Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” video set in ancient Egypt, hiphop style!

And just for fun…

  1. Live without your phone? OR Live without your computer, iPod, and clean clothes?
    I’ll keep the iphone because in a pinch it can do most things and keep me up to date on twitter too. I can even order new clothes over the phone!
    (JC: agreed)
  2. Be a vampire? OR Be a werewolf?
  3. I’d be a shifter definitely. Probably a cat shifter though, not a wolf.
  4. Receive $5 a day for the rest of your life? OR Receive $50,000 right here, right now?
    $50K now sounds good. I’d invest it!

Here’s a few questions for Neithamun:

  1. Your upbringing has been distinctly different from others of your social stature, how do you think that has shaped you, as a person?
    I’m much more in tune with the rhythms of life on the estate and closer to the people who do all the hard work. I have less patience with others of noble blood!
  2. What amenities of other estates do you covet?
    We work so hard at Heron Marsh just to keep the estate going day to day that I really miss the artists, musicians and scribes other estates support. Life can grow bleak without beauty. And of course it’s hard to render proper tribute and thanks to the Great Ones with no one to spare for singing, dancing, painting and writing.
  3. You’re a beautiful woman in a sensitive position, have none attempted to court you previously?
    I wasn’t interested in being married for my estate. Until Periseneb arrived, I never felt anyone cared about me, or the fate of my people. And of course once my neighbor Haqaptah made his plans for me and my lands known, others retreated. To add to that, there were rumors about a curse on my family.
  4. Out of this amazing tale, what has been the most eye-opening experience?
    I can’t give what you call spoilers. No parchment should be unrolled before its time. I will say that Periseneb taught me much about slowing down to consider the big picture and evaluate long term consequences of even small decisions rather than just doing what seems best in the moment.
    (JC: fair enough 😉 )

And now a few for Periseneb:

  1. Your fate has come full circle, had you known, would you have done anything differently in your past?
    As Neithamun said, we can’t give spoilers. My one regret is not reuniting with my father during his lifetime after I went off to Pharaoh’s Army. But considering that the fullness of time brought me the love of Neithamun, no, I wouldn’t ask the gods to redirect the events of my first life. Everything occurrence good and bad was needed to bring me to her.
  2. Is there any aspect of the afterlife that you miss/fear the most?
    I think all men (and women) fear the moment of Judging to some degree, because if the heart is found to be unworthy, there will be no Afterlife. Ammit the Destroyer will devour the heart, dooming the person. Who among us lives a completely blameless life? There will always be shades of gray, hard decisions. But I’ve done my best to respect Ma’at – truth, order, morality, justice – and to battle chaos. And there is the Book of the Dead with the required magic spells to ensure the successful journey to the Afterlife.
  3. Were you always so self-assured and confident, or has this been something you’ve had to work on developing over time?
    I was hot headed and overly sure of my decisions as a youth. In the Army I was known for charging headlong into situations and obtaining victory by sheer force of will. What I had to learn as the goddess Ma’at’s champion during the time described in the book was tempering my confidence with patience, and search for all aspects of the truth. I was given the fiery, destructive nature of an akh, or ghost as you’d say and I had to control that power or risk destroying those I was attempting to help, including the woman I love, Neithamun.
  4. Has this experience altered your outlook on death and the gods?
    My beliefs have been confirmed, strengthened by the glimpses of the Great Ones I was given as I pursued the truth on behalf of the goddess.

Finally, Veronica: What words of encouragement can you offer fellow writers?
I always say “just write”. Get the words on the page, don’t self edit and don’t self doubt. Time for revisions and editing after you’ve poured out the basic story. Also, there’s no one way or path to success. What works for someone else may or may not work for you. So don’t be afraid to try things and keep doing what you enjoy and what makes you happy!
(JC: Perfectly put!)

Thank you again, Veronica Scott, for playing along. Please stop by anytime.