Saturday, October 15, 2011

October's Paranormal romance characterfest with Dani Harper: Giveaway!


Welcome to Characterfest

Characterfest is a month long event where you’ll find a different character interviews written by the author each day. Each interview has a giveaway(s) make sure the giveaway is open to you and if so add a comment or question along with your email. I will close all giveaways at the end of the week and add the winners to the winners post on that Tuesday. Odds are if you won you’ll be hearing from me.

One thing I will ask is if you could please twitter or hit the facebook likes button on the post so that others can see the interview. I want to get these authors out to as much as I can and you’re my go between in this event.

I hope you enjoy each interview and please try to make it here each day to find out whom or what’s next. If this goes as planned I will be hosting this next year. 





Dani Harper is the author of a new shapeshifter series from Kensington Brava. Changeling Moon and Changeling Dream were released this summer. Changeling Dawn can be pre-ordered and will be officially released December 27th. Check Dani’s website for more information at http://www.daniharper.com

* * * *
As the four Macleod brothers walk in, you immediately wish you’d gotten a bigger table. Maybe even a bigger restaurant. James is the tallest, but all of them are over six feet and broad of shoulder. You’ve met other shapeshifters of course, but Changeling men seem to be huge. Their ordinary clothes fail to hide extraordinary muscle.

You recognize James by his white-blond hair and piercing blue eyes. Small wonder that some people have said he looks like a modern-day Viking although he’s a highly successful organic farmer. Perhaps he ransacks and pillages at night? The others have dark wavy hair. Two are obviously twins. You peg the one with pure devilment in his expression as Culley, computer genius and known prankster. The more serious one appears somewhat distracted as if his mind is elsewhere – that must be Devlin, a physicist who researches multiple dimensions. As the others settle themselves around the table, the fourth is the first to extend an enormous hand. With pale gray eyes and a ready smile, he could only be Connor Macleod, the town veterinarian.

“Thanks for taking time for this,” you say. “I know you’re busy, so I’ll get right to it. Our readers want to know what Halloween was like when you lived in Scotland.”

“We’re talking almost a couple centuries ago,” pipes up Culley. 
“I’m not sure my older brothers can remember back that far.”
“I remember just fine, thanks.” James sends a warning glare at his brother. “And we didn’t celebrate Halloween, not the way you do here.”

“Sure we did. There was plenty of pranking done—”
“And you did most of it, every day of the goddamn year.”
Ignoring them, Connor leans forward. “October 31st was a mixed celebration. First and foremost, we observed Samhain. That’s the Celtic New Year, separating the light half of the year from the dark half. There’d be enormous bonfires lit in every village.”

“And feasting.” Culley puts his hand over his heart and closes his eyes. “I still remember Aileen McGinty’s little mutton pies…”
Even James grins at that memory. “And the celebration of Samhain was three days long. Lots of games –”

“There were treacle-covered scones hung on strings,” explains Connor, using hand motions. “You were blindfolded and had to keep your hands behind your back while you tried to eat the scone.” He sees your confusion. “Treacle is a sugar syrup, sort of like molasses. They always used the darkest and blackest syrup they could find too.”

“Messy fun,” says James. “That scone would swing around and stick in your hair, smear treacle all over your face. Which is why the next game was always –”

“Apple dorkin!” laughs Culley. “That’s like bobbing for apples. Only they sprinkled white flour on the top of the water and the apples, so instead of cleaning the treacle off your face, the flour would stick to it. Our youngest sister, Kenzie, ended up looking like a ghost one year.”

“That’s because you pushed her,” said Devlin, speaking up at last.
“I did not!”

“Did too. I saw you.”

“The Samhain bonfire was symbolic,” says James, loud enough to drown out the twins. Heads turn in the restaurant and he shrugs and lowers his voice. “Everyone would put out their hearthfires, and then they would get a firebrand from the village bonfire to relight their homes. Each man would light a torch from the bonfire too, and then walk all the way around his home and his fields with it.”

“It was done to gain protection for the coming year,” adds Connor.

 “The barriers were down between this world and the otherworld at Samhain and you didn’t want your land bespelled.”

“Bespelled? You mean like magic?” you ask.
Culley flashes a devilish grin. “At Samhain, ghosts, evil spirits and demons could wander freely, and they could interact with humans as they pleased.”

“Don’t forget the fairy folk,” adds Devlin, solemn-faced. “They were the most dangerous of all.” The others nod and he continues. “That’s why people went guising. It’s an ancient Scottish tradition to dress up in ragged clothes and wear masks – the idea was to convince the evil spirits and ghosts that you were one of them, so they wouldn’t bother with you.”

James grins. “Culley did too good a job with his costume one year. Old Maude Mullins was convinced he was the real thing – of course he jumped out at her from her bread oven when she went to light it – and she walloped the hell out of him with a hearth broom.”
“You wouldn’t think a little old lady could hit that hard,” mutters Culley, rubbing a shoulder as if remembering a long-ago bruise.
“So you said that October 31st was a mixed celebration,” you prompt.

Connor nods. “We always celebrated Samhain. And when it was too dangerous for Changelings to go into the village, we would celebrate it at home. But the Church was forever trying to give everything a Christian twist, so October 31st became known as All Hallows Eve, the night before All Saints Day.”

“Things got pretty mixed up after that,” says James. “People would still go guising, but they’d go door to door asking for soul cakes – those were flat round buns made of oat flour – or they’d collect food and kindling for the poor. All the pranking still went on, and the feasting. The Samhain fires were lit just the same. And people still did things to protect themselves from ghosts and demons and so forth.”

“That’s where the jack o’lantern came from,” Devlin explains. “Only we didn’t use pumpkins. We had these really big neeps that we’d carve.”

“Neeps?” You’ve never heard that word before.

“Turnips,” provides Connor. “As far as I know, they still call them neeps in Scotland. Our mother used to make neeps and tatties – turnips and potatoes, fried up with onions. But on October 31st, we’d carve faces into turnips and rutabagas, sometimes even into big potatoes.”

“Then we’d put an ember from the fire inside, so the turnip would glow,” says James. “And it’s not called a jack o’lantern, it’s a tumshie. People would make lots of them and place them all around the house for protection from the unseen world. It was supposed to scare away evil creatures.”

“How about Changelings?” you ask. “Did they try to protect themselves from you too?”

The brothers exchange glances. “Wolves were pretty unpopular at any time of the year,” answers Connor. “And so were wulvers, which is the Scottish name for werewolves and Changelings like ourselves.”

“Of course they tried to ward off wulvers with magic, with different spells and talismans, bundles of herbs tied over doorways and so forth,” James explains. “But Changelings are natural creatures, not magical ones, so it didn’t work. And because we weren’t affected by those things, the villagers didn’t suspect what we were.”
“Not until later,” says Devlin. “But that’s another story and not a happy one.”

“Is that the reason you left Scotland?” you ask.
“A topic for another interview,” declares Culley and plunks something on the table in front of you with a thud. “We brought this for you.” It’s a tumshie – a big purple and white turnip with a dreadful gargoyle-like face carved in the side of it. James scoops up a tiny candle from the next table and pops it into the hollowed vegetable, which glows ominously through the tumshie’s nasty-looking teeth.

You would have preferred flowers but try to look appreciative. “So, you made this yourself?”

“For protection,” says Culley and winks at you. “To keep you safe over Samhain. And you can cook it with onions and tatties afterwards.”

Just what every girl needs.


* * * *
Giveaway – one commenter will be drawn at random to receive a cute plush wolf, a signed copy of the second book in Dani Harper’s Changeling Series, CHANGELING DREAM and a Dani Harper book bag to put your goodies in! International entries are welcome, but will receive the book and book bag only.

75 comments:

  1. Can't wait to read this series!!! Luv shapeshifters!! Especially when they're big & muscular, like they're described here!! ;-) The covers are very beautiful!!! Thanks for the chance to win!!! :-)

    jfort357(at)bellsouth(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've been meaning to read this series for some time now! love the covers and great excerpt!

    Annie @ UTC
    alltherhage AT gmail DOT com

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  3. I've heard so many good things about this series. I would love a chance to read it.

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  4. I've been a fan of Dani's for a while now. Started with her ebooks until now. I don't own any of this series yet though and would love a chance to. Thanks for the awesome giveaway.
    LadyVampire2u AT gmail DOT com

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  5. ive been DYING to read these!!! been on the library wait list for like 2 months now for book 1.. thanks for the awesome giveaway i would love to win!

    alainala AT hotmail DOT ca

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  6. ooh, thank you for this giveaway. love you for making it international too.
    heard a lot of great things about this series.

    witchvela at web dot de

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  7. This looks like a really cool series! Thanks for sharing! And thanks for the giveaway! :)

    Amy Belle
    apereiraorama @ gmail . com
    http://lateintothenight.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  8. I thank you for sharing today. I really enjoyed learning about the Samhain traditions. I loved that the original trick or treating was to give things to those in need and that the tricksters did fun pranks. I have Changling Dream so am not entering to win, but sure enjoyed the good time today.
    dz59001[at]gmail[dot]com

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  9. Hi Dani, it's always great reading about your books which I still need to try so thank you for the chance.

    Cambonified (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  10. enter me pls. id love to win these goodies :)

    punkme15 at gmail dot com

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  11. Love the halloween history, expecially the part about the neeps and tatties :) Great job Dani!

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  12. These men can feast on me any day of the week! Any. Day. ;) Hot damn I love Dani's books! If you don't know her you should!

    Awesome fun over here today!

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  13. I want to read this book :D Thank u for the giveaway!
    email: cruz042 at csusm dot edu

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  14. I cant wait to read this series it sounds great and those covesr are all fantastic very eye catching

    flanagan@mebtel.net

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  15. I've been wanting to read this series, sounds good! tWarner419@aol.com

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  16. This series sounds awesome! thanks for a chance in this giveaway.
    Anne
    Areeths at new dot rr dot com

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  17. Thanks to the Macleod brothers and Dani for stopping by. Loved Changeling Moon and Changeling Dream - can't wait to read Changeling Dawn!

    jtcgc at yahoo.com

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  18. Thanks for taking the time to do this guest post.
    Looking forward to reading this series. I'd love to win.
    WildAboutBones {at} gmail {dot} com

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  19. I haven't read any of Dani's books yet, but it looks like a great series. Thanks for the giveaway.

    truebloodfan AT rock DOT com

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  20. I haven't read these books yet. But they are certainly going on my TRL. I love shifter werewolves and Scotsmen. Love the post. Thanks for this chance.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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  21. Great interview.I have these books on my TBR list.Can't wait to read them.
    elaing8(at)netscape(dot)net

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  22. Had a blast doing this "interview" with the Macleod brothers. Thanks to everyone for stopping by --- love the comments.

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  23. I love reading about different cultures and the way they celebrate holidays. And I really want to know why they left Scotland now. Guess I will have to read the books and hopefully find out. I have the first book in my TBR pile, will have to move it to the top.
    June M.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

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  24. Wow, I have only seen the cover of Changeling Moon before. I just love to see all of the covers togther. They are really stunning. And the interview with the Macleod brothers is...really nice :) Thanks for the giveaway!
    jepebATverizonDOTnet

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  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  26. I enjoyed your first book, am reading the second now and looking forward to your third.

    dsadler53 at yahoo dot ca

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  27. I have heard great things about these books!

    books4me67 at ymail.com

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  28. Great interview and love that it's about brothers. I love shapshifter stories and can't wait to check out this series. Thanks for the chance.

    mythic021@gmail.com

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  29. Great interview! I've actually never heard of this series before... but now I know I must and I'd absolutely love to win one along with your goodies! Thanks for the contest!
    lindalou(at)cfl(dot)rr(dot)com

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  30. I have heard great things about this series. I would love to win this but if I dont I will buy it anyway!

    aliciahall0605(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

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  31. Thank you for the awesome giveaway. :)

    Terri M
    oklahomamommy0306@gmail.com

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  32. Great giveaway! Am looking forward to
    reading this series and learning more
    of these stalwart fellows!

    Pat Cochran
    p-cochran@juno.com

    ReplyDelete
  33. I haven't had a chance to start this series yet, but I'm looking forward to reading it.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  34. Loved the interview...who wouldn't with these 4 hunky guys? This is a series I could really get into. I'm putting it on my TBR...so I don't miss out!

    barbbattaglia@yahoo.com

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  35. new discovery for me

    thanks you for the international giveaway ( i'm a bit sad we don't get the plush too...i collect them and wolf are my favorite)

    isabelle(dot)frisch(at)gmail(dot)com

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  36. I really enjoyed the interview. This sounds like a great series. Love the cover too. I hope the series is not confined to only the four brothers.

    Tamsyn/international
    tamsyn5@yahoo.com

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  37. INTERNATIONAL

    Dani Harper is an amazing writer. Loved the interview.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  38. what great prizes!! Thanks for hosting.

    romanccebookjunkiesdanielle at yahoo dot com

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  39. Thank you for the great giveaway:)
    Enter me please!
    elliott2668(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  40. I love learning about various historical customs surrounding the holidays, so that was a great post. Thanks for the info and best wishes on the books.

    jen at delux dot com

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  41. The cold weather is approaching and this series would be wonderful to real, while curled up by the fire. Thanks.

    dorcontest at gmail dot com

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  42. Thanks for the giveaway.
    klepard94(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  43. Sounds like a great series! Have them on my TBR list.
    djeanq(at)gmail(dot)com

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  44. Dang how did I miss this series? Gotta go get book 1. These guys are too good to pass on.
    Again, thanks BBPR for introducing all these authors to me.

    kamwh1207(at)att(dot)net

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  45. This was a great interview! I'm really looking forward to reading this series! I've purchased the first book recently, but I still need to get the 2nd book. I want to read them back-to-back :-)

    Thanks so much for this great giveaway! :-)

    Ambercruz1(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  46. These books sound fantastic!! Can't wait to read them! Thanks for the chance to win!!!

    iarvd@yahoo.com

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  47. How many books are planned for the series, 4, one for each brother, or will more characters get a chance at the limelight?

    Anne
    acm05atjuno.com

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  48. I LOVED reading that interview: Gives you a real sense of how the brothers interact! I am now going to have to go buy them! LOVED IT and it was so fun!

    BrittanyG@gmail.com

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  49. Awesome interview. I think they really like food =p
    phaedracamille@gmail.com

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  50. I have six books planned for the series, one for each of the Macleod siblings. However, readers have indicated interest in Sgt Fitzpatrick, Jessie Watson and Birkie Peterson, so who knows? Thank you all for the positive comments -- I'm glad that you enjoyed the interview!

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  51. I really like the covers for this series; they are very elegant.

    b(dot)cardone(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  52. I loved the interview. This sounds like a great series. I'm looking forward to reading it.

    beckyqward@gmail.com

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  53. Hey Dani! Fantastic interview with the brothers. I loved it! I have to say that I can't wait for the third book to be released. It will be a fabulous gift to myself since it will be released on my birthday! :o)

    Irishwolf @ embarqmail .com

    ReplyDelete
  54. Thanks for the great giveaway.
    Looking forward to starting this series.

    ljberma01@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  55. This series sounds great! Really like the cover. Thanks for the giveaway.

    sariahwalters at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  56. What a great interview thanks for sharing! Thank you for the great giveaway!
    tishajean@ charter.net

    ReplyDelete
  57. I have heard amazing things about this series. What a great giveaway!

    Thank you!
    mmafsmith at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  58. This interview has me curious to read the series.

    zzebra138@gmail.co

    ReplyDelete
  59. This looks interesting ....

    scolding27@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  60. Great interview. I'd love to read this series, those brothers sound really interesting. Thanks for the giveaway!

    jessicamariesutton(at)msn(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  61. I would love to dive into this series. It looks really great! Thanks so much for the chance to win!

    Mary
    mary_reiss @ hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  62. I have so got to get these books. I have been seeing them on other blogs and reading such good reviews. Now with this character interview, I really, really want them...LOL

    koonie2888 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  63. don't enter me. Just wanted to stop by and give Dani some love!!! Us shifter lovers need to stick together .

    ReplyDelete
  64. I haven't had a chance to read any of Dani's books yet, but I would love to. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway! bpatrick64113@sbcglobal.net

    ReplyDelete
  65. Can't wait to start thi sereis. Thanks for the giveaway!

    whitewolfreads AT gmail DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  66. I've seen these book covers before and never realized they were about wolve shifters. Had I known, I probably would have already read them!!
    Watched your video for the Changling Series, definitely hooked after that and the interview!

    Thanks for the giveaway!!

    mnjcarter@charter.net

    ReplyDelete
  67. can't wait for the next one. I hope Culley is soon

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  68. I have been reading a lot of vampire paranormal romances lately, so a shifter novel would be a nice change!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  69. This sounds great, thanks for the giveaway!

    chibipooh(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  70. I have so badly wanted to read this series, thanks for the opportunity.

    vampiremistress2010(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  71. i have heard alot about this series as well but i haven't had the opportunity to read it yet.

    thanks for the giveaway!

    katie_tp(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  72. i am so excited for the next book to come out... eeekk.. can hardly contain it..

    ReplyDelete
  73. Joywright75- You can find the giveaway rules on the left sidebar. Here's the link http://www.bittenbyparanormalromance.com/2011/01/giveaway-and-contest-policy.html?zx=97ff87b65fee4263
    This explains everything about giveaways on the blog. I have so many giveaways a month it just makes it easier and less time consuming to do it this way.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Thank you for the giveaway! Someone on Goodreads was reading your first book. I read the review and put you on my tbr pile! I am very excited to read them! Now here you are having a giveaway! How cool is that! brendem7@comcast.net

    ReplyDelete

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