Devil to Pay
Eternity Gambit, #1
Genre: Paranormal Comedy Romance
Publisher: Renee Bernard
Date of Publication: August 8, 2014
Number of pages: 342
Word Count: 80,420
Workplace comedy is always fun but when the company in question in H.E.LLc (Hades Enterprises LLc) and your job is being Lucifer, let's just say, there are some unique challenges beyond Casual Fridays and who keeps taking your lunch out of the break room. Even if Hell really is just a place where evil is tracked and analyzed in endless cubicles-no brimstone and not a human soul in sight-there's no room for error. This Lucifer (who is the seventh unlucky archangel to get the position behind the black onyx desk) is about to have his entire world rattled when a very sweet and likable mortal woman crosses his path.
After all, angels can't lie. And when Jayne Hamilton wants to know what he does for a living, all bets are off. Because "dating" isn't exactly in the cosmic scheme of the Eternity Gambit, but Love... Well, Love is never really off the table.
Now, if Lucifer can just figure out how to win the girl and get himself fired, he'll be one very very happy angel.
First book in the new Eternity Gambit series from USA Today bestselling author Renee Bernard. This is a romantic comedy series with an original paranormal twist that defies categorization and turns every notion of Heaven and Hell on its ear.
“You’re mental, right?”
“I think if we were having this conversation in a basement decorated with torn out newspaper articles, black-light posters and me drooling about how I have conversations with dogs and wear tinfoil underwear, you might have a case.” Luke deliberately glanced around the room, silently pointing out the lack of “mental” revealed by his beautifully appointed modern office and furnishings. If it weren’t for the black onyx desk, it would be easy to mistake it for an extraordinary executive’s digs. “I think we can rule out insanity—on both sides of this argument.”
“Right, since I’m not the one proclaiming to be the Prince of Darkness,” she said with a touch of sarcasm she couldn’t prevent. After all, even pretending to take him seriously made her consider that she might not be firing on all cylinders. Her hands were shaking, so she pressed them together as firmly as she could. Were crazy people like bees? Could they smell fear? “Is it possible you’re just a very wealthy man in need of medication?”
“Sure. Anything is possible,” he conceded, his open smile disarming her as he was obviously beginning to genuinely enjoy the debate. “Jayne, I could be an eccentric billionaire intent on impressing you by pretending to be Lucifer. Stranger things have happened.”
“Name one thing stranger than this.”
“Besides the fashion of the 80’s and people who resemble their dogs?”
Today, we welcome Renee Bernard to Musings and Ramblings. Let's all give a big Geeky welcome!
I’m so excited to be here and so thrilled to get to hang out with you for a while! I’m a mom with two young daughters so trust me, a few minutes at the keyboard is always heaven…though when I’m at the keyboard I’m usually working on something so this seems like I’m playing hookey! It’s a guilty pleasure.
Let's start with some writer specific questions before moving into the fun stuff. That way everyone can really get to know the person behind the writer. We will finish things off with a round of Think Fast. Ready for the interrogation to begin?
Are you kidding? I’m ready for anything! (Except zombies. I don’t believe anyone is ever ready for zombies no matter what my husband says. But what do I know? I write romances with happy endings. If that zombie nonsense starts to happen, I’m stocking up on air freshener and liquor and hiding in my office.) Sorry. I guess it’s clear I’ve been working on romantic comedies lately and not a lot of serious literature…
Is your writing style more plotter or pantser?
I think I’m 75% plotter and then the rest is being in the moment. I rough outline the books by scenes/chapters and then just start layering it in. A synopsis rarely matches the finished book entirely but I think it’s good to have that launching point and to have a general idea of where you are going before you start. I tell people that writing a book is a trip (as in you have a destination, an itinerary, some goals and limited time/resources) but that doesn’t mean you won’t have adventures along the way, include a few side roads, see something unexpected and learn something new. You can both plan and be spontaneous in good measure but writing a book shouldn’t be a meandering journey (as in you just start walking and hope it doesn’t get dark and start raining before you reach shelter.) At least, that’s been my experience. The pantsers of the world always amaze me but I think it only means the plotting processes are internalized. I think they do know the shape of the book they want to write but it’s as if admitting that the left brain is involved spoils the fun.
Or their muses are just more fun at parties than mine. Mine always looks more like a librarian in my head and gets really mad at me when I make jokes about her turtlenecks distracting me when I’m trying to write the sexier stuff… LOL! I totally just saw her in my head too. She has a top knot bun and those cool cateye glasses right?
How do you deal with Writer's Block?
I sit down with my characters and we have a heart to heart. I ask them what the problem is and it is always my fault. I’m asking them to do something they don’t want to do or something that makes no sense given their natures. And since I’m the person who dreamt them up, I’m the one who gets the stink-eye across the table for being so dense as to force them to go on strike to wait for my brain to start functioning properly again. Sometimes, it’s because they are bored and that’s a nightmare moment that requires a serious re-write. If your hero is telling you that he is bored or just not attracted to the woman you’re shoving at him, then it’s a non-starter. You have to fix that and it’s not a quick patch.
Writer’s Block for me has always been about an essential flaw in the plan and no one has a better answer than my characters. They know what they want and they generally know how they want it to happen. It’s a magical moment when you stand aside and let go of the reins. They always make more interesting choices than I would have and at the end of the day, I get to take all the credit for their genius. It’s a win-win. What a wonderful explanation.
How involved are you with Social Media and self-promotion?
What a juggle! I try to make sure people know I’m still alive, that I haven’t fallen into a coma or gotten lost in a snowstorm but too much time online is definitely productive time lost for me. I love FB and Pinterest but whoa! Those are hours of my life I am never getting back! I post every day and try to Tweet when I can remember to come up with something pithy enough. A book release forces me out to bother everyone but I keep hoping that it will come more naturally as I go… and that I can enlist my street team to take over!
Ongoing promotion probably happens with the radio show. I also have a weekly internet program on Blog Talk Radio called “The Romance Bookmark” where I talk to other authors about their books so I’m apparently the Queen of Promoting Others (it’s way more fun and I’m a lot more comfortable talking about someone else’s books) but if karma counts, maybe I’m in line for a big hit. I love the show though. It’s light and silly, live and unrehearsed. No marketing sound bites or FAQs allowed. We just laugh and chat books to give those author’s readers a chance to hear their voice and connect to them in a whole new way.
Self-promotion is one of the biggest challenges for any author and I think it’s an art form when you do it well. I admire all those who manage social media so well. I know personally, it is a struggle, as I am more of an introvert.
What one thing do you wish someone had told you before you started writing?
I wish I’d figured out sooner that a career in writing is a lot like being Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”. You have a lot more power and control than you realize and you can waste a lot of time trying to find the Wizard to get you what you want (published) when you could have been getting out there and simply doing it. Unfortunately, the click your heels three times thing is also a bust, so try to find a realistic balance if you can.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Every writer has tough moments. A friend said my writing was too sweet and that I could never write the hot stuff (which naturally meant I took that up as a double-dog-dare and wrote a very hot book that ended up getting me published.) I had an editor declare that she wanted something “lighter” from me, only to dump me on another editor who dropped me completely because she wanted something “darker”—so I was dropped from the publisher for trying to please too many people.
Online reviews from people who openly admit they didn’t actually read your book are never fun but I always remember what Victoria Alexander told me. She said that the day that someone said, “This is the worst book ever written!” she decided she had nothing to do but celebrate. She said that with that out of the way, she could only get better, improve or just keep dancing. I loved that!
The two best compliments I’ve ever received was one from a reader from France who had carried my book all the way to a convention here in the States and gone out of her way to find me in the crowd so that I could sign it. I was in tears. She was in tears. It was amazing. The second was a reader who came up to me at the Glendale Chocolate Affaire with a newborn and her husband in tow to a book signing. She said that they’d been trying for a long time and no luck and then they spent a very romantic weekend reading one of my books aloud to each other… and… viola! I INSPIRED A BABY TO HAPPEN! (I have a picture of me with that little bundle of joy as eternal proof!)
I know. TMI. But for me, that was a life changing moment. I thought, wow… this stuff really works… I better watch it and put a warning label on the cover somewhere… Awww! that is so sweet! Now, which book was that again? LOL
What was the last movie/concert/show that you saw?
We snuck out to see “Guardians of the Galaxy” and I loved it so much! The characters, the soundtrack, the plot were all so fresh and fun that when we got a puppy for Christmas, we named her Groot! It’s so rare to get to the theater (where did all the babysitters go?) and when lightning strikes and you also get to take in a great movie, it’s the best. I am having fun imagining play the "I am Groot!" game with the puppy.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
I would like to have Hermione’s little time changer in the Harry Potter books, that pendant that allowed her to flip around in time and cram forty hours into every day. I’m a mom with two little girls, an author, a wife, a caretaker and a one-woman-publishing house. Need I say more? Or a stopwatch that stops time. Can you imagine? Surprise Guests at the door? Click and now there is time for a quick clean up.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Ignorant prejudices and blind hatred make me crazy. I just don’t tolerate stupid like I used to… I think it has something to do with age. I’m ready for women to rule the world. Really ready. I agree. The older I get, the lower my BS tolerance has become.
If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, fictional or real, who would it be and why?
Jon Stewart. Or Joss Whedon. Or Tina Fey. Or Stan Lee. Because I love their minds, their amazing creative talent and the way they’ve carried themselves in this wild, wild world. It would simply be a love fest. Now that is a dinner party guest list!
You are going to be stranded on a deserted island and bring 3 luxury items. What would they be?
I’m assuming we aren’t talking camping equipment, water purifiers and a good knife? Okay. Luxury… Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, and Taye Diggs. I would bring them. I’m all set. And ding-ding-ding we have a winner!
Elvis or Sinatra? Sinatra.
AM or PM? PM
Mountains or Sea? Mountains!!
Meat or Veggies? Meat. Bacon, please.
Italian or Chinese? Chinese
Summer or Winter? Winter
Coffee or Tea? Tea
Cake or Pie? Cake
Car or Truck? Car
Dead Tree or Electronic? Electronic!
Thanks for coming by and spending some time with us. Any final words of wisdom to pass along?
This was ridiculously fun and I don’t know if wisdom is something I have enough of to share yet but I will say that I saw a wonderful quote yesterday in a documentary on Susan Sontag of all people that said, “Love words. Agonize over sentences. Pay attention to the world.” I don’t think it gets wiser than that.
Thank you so much for having me here and I do hope that readers will take a peek at DEVIL TO PAY and consider adding it to their shelves. No matter what, I want to thank you and all the readers out there for supporting romance and making all our dreams possible. Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone! And wherever you are, know that you’re loved!! Thank you!
A $50 B&N or Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter
What in the world is a retired Navy chaplain’s daughter doing writing scorching hot historical romances and paranormal romantic comedies and even comic books? Renee Bernard is applying a great education from traveling all over the world to story telling and doing her best to keep her father proud. Truthfully, her father is her number one fan, even though he has sworn never to read a single word of her books (a vow he has kept to this day!) Nothing stops him from telling everyone he knows that his daughter is now a USA Today Bestselling author or from handing out bookmarks on the golf course. Love can make even a minister do strange things!
Renee Bernard is a freelance writer and host of “The Romance Bookmark” on Readers Entertainment, as well as a contributor to Romantic Times BookReviews magazine. Renee currently lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California. (Note an interesting proximity to great wineries!)
DEVIL TO PAY is available now online wherever books are sold and is coming soon to Audio! The Eternity Gambit series is a fun departure from her well-known Victorian set historical romances and creates a new world for readers unlike any other. DEVIL TO PAY is the first book in this new series and is gathering up 5-Star reviews and momentum as more readers discover that office politics can hit a whole new level of crazy when you work at Hades Enterprises, LLc (or H.E.LLc).
To connect with the author online:
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