Sunday, November 27, 2011

Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal Romance with Author Ashley Lynn Willis

Bookin' It reviews is proud to welcome debut author  Ashley Lynn Willis here today to talk to us about Vamps. Shifters and why she loves urban Fantasy. She's celebrating her debut release of The Calling with a giveaway! It's simple to enter,  just leave a comment for her with a valid email and you're int he drawing for this Sunday. :-)

Author Bio:
Ashley Lynn Willis lives in the Midwest with her husband of nine years. For eight years, she worked as an engineer in general aviation but quit her job to be a stay at home mom to two precious preschoolers. She wrote her first two books, Killing Abel and Saving Jessica, in September of 2009 and has been penning her imagination ever since.

Find Ashley on

Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal Romance… 
Does it matter as long as the vamps and shifters are yummy?

This is going to sound strange because my first published book is a paranormal/contemporary romance, but since the day I picked up The Vampire Lestat, my first love has been urban fantasy. I gobbled up Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, then moved on to The Lives of the Mayfair Witches. I gorged on the Sookie Stackhouse series and Anita Blake series, and while I love the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and yes, even Twilight, I cannot get enough of urban fantasy. In fact, before penning The Calling, I wrote  Killing Abel and Saving Jessica, the first books in an urban fantasy series.

Why do I love urban fantasy so much when paranormal romance ties up the ending in a tidy little bow? Romance novels leave a warm fuzzy in your gut, and like the Grinch, your heart grows ten times larger. Or is that twenty? I can’t remember. Anyway, Paranormal Romances are heartwarming.
As I analyze my love for urban fantasy, I realize that tidy little bow is why I placed paranormal romances a little under my preferred genre.  Maybe I like not knowing if there will be a “happily ever after.” I like not knowing the future of the heroine or feeling as if the storyline is tied to an age-old formula that worked for everyone else, except not so much for me. Maybe the unknown simply gives me more of a thrill than the known. Am I the only one? Based on sales, I’d say not, but sometimes I feel like I’m a little crazy to love urban fantasy so much. Now I have to ask the all-important question; what’s your preference? If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even tell us why.

Back Of The Book

The Calling:

Mandy Hardy lost more than a breast to cancer; she lost her fiancé when he dumped her a week before her mastectomy. Her ego bruised and her self-esteem battered, Mandy’s sure she’ll never fall in love again.

Justin Seward is a headstrong Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer with a heart of gold and the supernatural ability to command the seas. He had to hide his feelings while Mandy was engaged to his best friend. Now that she’s free, he’s vowed to make her his.

Together, they may hold the key to each other’s salvation. But when Justin’s past catches up with him, and Mandy’s ex-fiancé wants vengeance, they realize they might not live long enough for happily ever after. The Calling is a 360 page contemporary romance with a paranormal twist.

Excerpt from The Calling a contemporary romance with a paranormal twist.

Mandy glanced across the beach, wondering why more people weren’t milling about on the sand. Not that she minded, the fewer beachgoers who saw her in a swimsuit, the better. Though, thanks to her best friend Lori, she was wearing a cute tankini that even showed a little cleavage without revealing her mastectomy scars. Tomorrow, she’d buy that girl flowers for her Herculean efforts.
Justin led her to a quiet, flat spot and laid out a beach towel big enough for four. “I figured we’d share.”
Mandy chuckled as she plopped her bag down on the blue terrycloth. Slipping off her sandals, she stared at him. Something about him seemed different. She’d noticed the change yesterday at the hospital, but hadn’t been able to put her finger on it until this moment. The three years she’d known him, he’d always looked sleep deprived, with bloodshot eyes ringed by dark circles. Now, his eyes were crystal clear and sparkling brown. “You seem well rested.”
Justin tilted his head. “You noticed?”
She nodded. “Sleeping pills?”
He sat down on the blanket and tucked his long legs beneath him. “Busy summer. I always rest better after a rescue.” He held out a bottle of sunscreen. “Do you mind?” As soon as she took it from him, he slipped off his shirt.
She’d seen him bare-chested more times than she could count, but she’d been so in love with Ty she’d never paid attention to his attributes. Turned out, he had plenty. His shoulder muscles curved in smooth ridges under his golden skin, and his chest tapered to a trim, flat stomach, cut with washboard abs. His swimming trunks hung low on his hips.
As she stared at his perfection, a tingly feeling traveled down her spine, then lodged in her stomach. Attraction? The prickling sensation turned into a brick that sat heavy in her gut. She hadn’t taken notice of a handsome man in so long, she’d forgotten how it made her feel.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. No tingles allowed.
She kneeled behind him, squirted a large dollop of sunscreen on her hand, and rubbed the lotion onto his smooth skin. Reminding herself that he was Justin, her ex-fiancé’s best friend, she squashed her lustful thoughts. But the reminder didn’t stop her from noticing every hard muscle as her fingers glided across his back.
Trying to distract herself from the tingles that refused to go away, she allowed her palm to linger on the sea serpent tattoo wrapped around his bicep. In the black scales of the reptile, she spotted hidden profiles of sharks, corals, sea turtles, and even a barracuda. She’d never considered tattoos as artwork, but his was a masterpiece.
She traced the head of the snake, lingering on the slithering tongue. “Have I ever told you I love this?”
He turned his head and, suddenly, their faces were inches apart. “No. I would’ve remembered.”
She felt his dark eyes gazing straight into her, and her heart pounded uncontrollably. She rocked back on her knees to put some distance between them and picked up the pace, quickly covering every inch of his back with lotion. “There. Not even a gamma ray would burn you.”
“I’ve got a spray in my bag if you want me to douse you.”
“I already put on my sunscreen at home.” Thank goodness for her foresight. If he so much as touched her right now, she’d turn into a giggling puddle of female hormones. She cleared her throat. “You’re supposed to apply lotion thirty minutes before you go in the sun, you know. It’s more effective that way.”
“You’re the nurse,” he said.
She screwed the lid back on the sunscreen and handed it to him. Time to get in the water, she thought as she sat next to him. Reluctantly, she fidgeted with the hem of her white cover-up, twisting the cotton fabric between tense fingers. The scars aren’t visible, she reminded herself. She’d made sure by contorting her body like a Cirque du Soleil performer in front of the dressing room mirror. Even though she had no reason to be self-conscious, her nerves were firing up like bullets without a target, bouncing around in her stomach and wreaking havoc.
“Ready to get in?” he asked.
She nodded. Swallowing hard, she grabbed the bottom of her cover-up, lifted it over her head, and tucked it in her beach bag. As she adjusted the straps to make sure everything remained covered, she looked up to see Justin’s gaze resting on her chest. After a second of staring, his brow furrowed.
Mandy cringed, wanting to wrap her arms around her breasts. “Is there a problem?”
Justin’s widened eyes darted to her face, then to the crashing waves pounding the beach. “Wow. I’m being rude.” He blushed bright red. “I just… I didn’t…”
She knew exactly what he meant. After her surgery, she’d caught most of her friends staring at her missing breast, even though she wore a falsie. A woman without a boob, especially a young one, was a subject of fascination. Justin must have thought she’d still be deflated on one side. “You expected me to be lopsided?”
He nodded, his gaze locked on the surf.
“Reconstructive surgery.” Had he thought she’d be flat forever?
He blew out a noisy breath, grabbed both the boogie boards, and stood. The smile that spread across his face didn’t reach his eyes. “Still remember how to use these?”
Thankful for the change of subject, she jumped to her feet. “It’s been a while, but I think I can manage.” She took a board from Justin, surprised by its light weight given the size. Had it really been so long that she’d forgotten how a bodyboard felt in her arms? Good thing she was getting back in the saddle before she forgot how to swim altogether.
“The last time I surfed, I was with you,” she said.
“You were a fast learner.”
“I’ve probably forgotten everything you taught me.”
His smile came with the crinkles around his eyes that marked it as genuine. “Then, I’ll teach you again.”
Justin had been so patient with her back then, she had no doubt she’d be an expert by the time she left for home. After she fastened the Velcro bracelet to her wrist, she scanned the water. “I don’t think the waves are big enough.” They seemed no more than a foot or two, not exactly high enough for a riveting ride.
He winked. “They’ll get bigger.” With that, he dashed into the sea. Water sprayed around his legs and body as he plunged into the surf. Sure enough, the waves seemed to follow him, cresting higher and ebbing lower. Was a storm moving in, kicking up larger swells? She glanced at the sky. Fluffy white clouds floated lazily toward the east, and the blue surrounding them was endless. She shrugged, then hurried after him.

Thank you Ashley for stopping in here today!
Readers, don't forget to leave a comment with your email address to enter The Calling Giveaway!


  1. Hi Ashley!
    I just love the cover to The Calling and the story sounds sooo good... I've just gotta get my hands on it!

    I too gorged on some of those authors you mentioned and then really started venturing out into UF territory wanting something a little more. Not sure what that "more" is, but UF gives me that something for sure. All I know is I'll never stop reading either:)

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. I really like the cover and even more so the UF genre. I will be keeping this book on my reading list. Thank you for the giveaway.


  3. @Talina - thanks for having me over for a visit and letting me chat with your followers.

    @yadkny and Na - My cover artist is a god. LOL. I swear he read my mind when he created that masterpiece. I can't wait to work with him again. Thanks to both of you for entering the contest. :)


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