Debut Author Paul Anthony Shortt on Love Reborn

Today I have a special treat for you. Author Paul Anthony Shortt is here to taklk about the unique challenges he had in writing a reincarnation story and how it can affect the romantic plotlines. I can relate to this on some level, being that I love writing reunion stories. Having two people know each other already can be a challenge to write because takes away that first meeting, new feelings, all the fun song and dance that happens between strangers. But it also provides an immediate connection, a deeper understanding, an intensity that already exists.

However, I can't imagine how complicated that could get when the lovers are reunited in different bodies and time periods. : ) This is why I have a fantasy author here to talk about such things. 

So enjoy Paul's post and be sure to check out his book and congratulate him on his debut Locked Within ! (Which, btw, is FREE on Kindle right now. Go! Run! Get it!)

Love Reborn

Thanks for having me back, Roni! It’s been quite a while since I last did a guest post on this blog, talking about love scenes in fantasy. I’m back as part of my Locked Within Blog Tour, celebrating the release of my first novel. Again, I’m talking about love and romance, but with a particular spin.

In Locked Within, Nathan Shepherd learns that he is the reincarnation of a warrior who has fought evil for millennia. He discovers (or rediscovers) a supernatural society that exists alongside our own, and encounters people and creatures he has known in previous lifetimes. His past-life memories allow him to learn to fight or investigate murders faster and more effectively than he should ordinarily be able. But they also carry with them the emotions, good and bad, of whole lives he once lived.

As well as forcing Nathan to face the ghosts of the things he has experienced before, the fact of reincarnation presents a number of writing challenges. How to keep a sense of mystery. How to keep Nathan under enough threat that the reader’s interest is held. And how to handle romantic plotlines.

The story opens with Nathan in a committed, though struggling, relationship. His dreams and obsession with unsolved murders put a strain on his love life, and put his hopes for starting a family at risk. While it doesn’t come up in Locked Within, the idea that someone can be born again, having had whole lifetimes’ worth of friends, enemies and romantic partners buried away in a secret past does cast any relationships Nathan has in an interesting light.

If you were to meet a lover from a previous life, what does that mean for an existing relationship? Does it count as cheating on them, that you were with someone before you were reunited? Should you be expected to leave your current partner for your old lover? If you’re the one whose partner has found a past-life lover, how do you cope? Would there be jealousy? Would you feel like you would always be only second best? Or should reincarnated lovers do their best to forget their past lives and live in the present, ignoring old feelings and setting aside that relationship as being gone for good?

This potential storyline fits well with the model of the existing relationship, whether happy or ailing, which is interrupted by the arrival of the alluring love rival. A common trope, how this situation is portrayed generally depends on the gender of the person who is tempted to leave their current partner. If male, it is most often considered wrong and the spurned girlfriend or wife is the victim. If female, it is usually justified, and the husband or boyfriend is unforgivably boorish and insensitive, sometimes even abusive.

The important point where the storyline differs is that the attraction here would not be based on the temptation of something new or the smouldering charms of a mysterious stranger. Rather, the attraction would be based on an existing mutual love and connection. This is potentially more difficult to ignore than a new infatuation. 

Whether or not the reincarnated lovers are already in other relationships, any romance which now happens has to be treated differently to the standard format. Instead of nervous introductions, there is unexpected recognition. Where before there would have been the electricity of touching someone for the first time, here there is the comfort of familiarity. Nostalgic reminders in place of flirtatious banter. Sure, they have a new face, new smell. Their skin might be rough when before it was smooth. There may be jealousy to deal with over someone they were with before the characters found each other again. They may even be a different gender, which could open up all sorts of complications.

But at the heart of it, I think the story remains the same. Two characters, perhaps incomplete, Perhaps hurting or lost. They find each other, for the first, second, or hundredth time. The spark is still there. The bond they share. And as they face their challenges together, coming together again, they learn that even after a whole lifetime has passed, they make each other whole.

The supernatural realm and the mundane world have existed side by side since the dawn of time. Predators walk the streets, hidden by our own ignorance. Once, the city of New York was protected, but that was another age.

Now a creature emerges from the city's past to kill again, with no one to hear the screams of its victims. The lost and the weak, crushed under the heels of the city's supernatural masters, have given up hope.

But one man finds himself drawn to these deaths. Plagued by dreams of past lives, his obsession may cost him friends, loved ones, even his life. To stop this monster, he must unlock the strength he once had. He must remember the warrior he was, to become the hero he was born to be.

His name is Nathan Shepherd, and he remembers.

A child at heart who turned to writing and roleplaying games when there simply weren't enough action figures to play out the stories he wanted, Paul Anthony Shortt has been writing all his life.

Growing up surrounded by music, film and theatre gave him a deep love of all forms of storytelling, each teaching him something new he could use. When not playing with the people in his head, he enjoys cooking and regular meet-ups with his gaming group.

He lives in Ireland with his wife Jen and their dogs, Pepper and Jasper. Their first child, Conor William Henry Shortt, was born on July 11th, 2011. He passed away three days later, but brought love and joy into their lives and those of their friends. Jen is pregnant again and is expecting twins.



Thanks, Paul! So, what do you think of stories where the couple already has history What challenges have you faced in your own story because of a unique world or plot twist?

And did I mention Locked Within  is FREE on Kindle right now?

Special Guest & Contest: Author Tori St. Claire - Lie To Me

Today I have the lovely Tori St. Claire here to talk about her newest release Lie to Me . Tori writes super sexy romantic suspense and is going to share with us a little about her heroes.


Thanks, Roni, for letting me come over today!  And congrats on your release!

I almost never associate a real face with a character, particularly in plotting a book.  Sometimes someone will leap out at me after the book is complete but, gosh, I can’t think of anyone who’s been with me from the beginning of a novel… except Alexei in LIE TO ME, my July 3rd Berkley Heat release.

From the moment his name leapt into my head, way back as a mention in STRIPPED, he was Theo Theodoridis.  Which, actually, takes things on a very strange twist.

 Click for photo of Theo

You see… Theo reminds me of Duell McCall in Desperado. I had the hugest crush on Alex McArthur in school – his name adorned every one of my folders, surrounded by hearts, flourishes, and squigglies.

And as this connection hit me during the writing, I went looking up my old crush Alex McArthur.  Lo and behold, not only is the man drop-dead gorgeous twenty years later, but holy cow, he embodies the spitting image of how I picture Kevin Clarke, the Black Opal Director.

Click for photo Alex

So dear, sweet, hot and steamy felon Theo gave me two bangs for one buck!  All the more reason to be infatuated with this man.

But above all… it’s the eyes in both men. God help me, I’ll swoon for heartbreaker eyes.  What about you all?  What’s your swoonworthy part?


LIE TO ME Blurb:

A man of action…

After helping to break up a Russian human trafficking ring as part of the CIA’s elite Black Opal team, Alexei Nikanova’s newest assignment is to rescue one of the stolen women and return her to her father. When he arrives in Dubai, he discovers his target is Sasha Zablosky—a woman he knows all too well, and who has haunted him ever since their unforgettable time together in Moscow, two and a half years earlier. But he finds Sasha reluctant to leave her sheikh, the only true friend she’s ever known. Only Alexei can’t give her a choice.  

A woman of deception…

With their yearning roused by intrigue, Alexei and Sasha can no longer resist temptation, and spend night after night in forbidden pleasure. Soon Alexei finds himself falling for her, even as he battles a shadowy menace to protect her. But Sasha is no innocent. She has a past darker than she could ever admit, one that Alexei could never forgive. And it is about to explode into her life once more. As the lies they tell themselves—and each other—pull them deeper into a perilous desire, what began as simple passion becomes a love certain to destroy them and end the lives of countless innocents.


Sasha rolled over, propped her head up on one elbow. “Who do you work for, Alexei?”

That was certainly the last question he’d ever prepared for. Chancing a glance at her upturned face, he debated how to answer. She’d told him she worked for FSB; she undoubtedly knew he was an American agent—virtually all of Dubai knew. But tell her about the Opals? Let her in?

What the hell. They’d already named themselves in front of her. She knew their director’s name. He stared at the television as he answered, “A special division within the CIA known as the Black Opals. We’re the ones they send when it’s real dicey and they need to delete someone with the press of a button.”


More quietly he added, “We don’t exist.”

He crossed opposite ankles and folded his hands behind his head, leaning back against the headboard. Waiting for her to make the association between his vague explanation and the truth of his work. When she did, shock would stop her questions.

Instead, Sasha’s palm fitted over his belly, gentle sweeping motions that rumpled the fabric of his shirt and offered more comfort than Alexei had known could exist. “Isn’t that . . . difficult?” she asked softly.

“Difficult? The missions are never ea—” 

“No. Not existing.” That delightful little palm slid higher, caressing the lower part of his chest. “I mean, don’t you ever crave life? The simple things like owning a house and paying someone to rake your leaves.” The heel of her palm worked into his tense muscles. “Like sleeping in on a Saturday and having breakfast in bed.”

More than she could understand. He tensed. She was getting too close, treading too far into murky waters he didn’t want to disturb.

Dropping to an almost inaudible whisper, her voice washed over his body. “Have you ever been in love, Alexei?”

Danger. Combustion imminent. Alexei covered the sudden trip of his heart with a harsh chuckle. “Love’s not an option in my line of work, princess.”

She was silent for a blissful moment, leaving him with the conclusion he’d scared her off. As luck would have things, however, when she did speak, she didn’t traipse around uncomfortable, she plunged in headfirst. “You only call me princess when I’ve hit a nerve. So tell me, Agent Nikanova, are you afraid of the fall, or afraid of the loss?”

About Tori:

National Bestselling author Tori St. Claire grew up writing. Hobby quickly turned into passion, and when she discovered the world of romance as a teen, poems and short stories gave way to full length novels with sexy heroes and heroines waiting to be swept off their feet. She wrote her first romance novel at seventeen.

While that manuscript gathered dust-bunnies beneath the bed, she went on to establish herself as a contemporary, historical, and paranormal author under the pen name, Claire Ashgrove. Her writing, however, skirted a fine line between hot and steamy, and motivated by authors she admired, she pushed her boundaries and made the leap into erotica, using the darker side of human nature and on-the-edge suspense to drive grittier, sexier, stories.

Her erotic romantic suspense novels are searingly sensual experiences that unite passion with true emotion, and the all-consuming tie that binds -- love.


Tori will be giving away a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card to one random commenter during the month of July.  Two additional commenters will receive a basket of swag.  Follow the tour – the more times you comment the better your chances of winning!  Complete tour dates can be found here.


Thanks to Tori for stopping by! If you'd like to enter the contest, answer Tori's question in the comments and provide your email address.


REMINDER: I'll be at RWA for the remainder of the week and won't be blogging.