Homeland Security Special Agent Eliana Solomon is on a mission to prevent terrorist attacks. Hard enough to do when the threats are human, almost impossible when it’s an evil, shape shifting jinni. Eliana needs help so she calls the sexy and beguiling psychiatrist, Arta Shahani. However, no matter how good he is at his job, the man is on her blacklist. On their last case together, the guy left her for dead.
Arta is stunned when he receives Eliana’s call. Forced to abandon the woman he loves, he now fears she won’t accept his shape-shifting skills as a Persian Lion. Eliana, in the meantime discovers she is a direct descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba with special powers of her own. But will her skill and Arta’s be enough to defeat the jinni, or will they lose the love history decreed for them as well as their lives in this battle of good versus evil?~ Bewitching BT
Summertown, West Virginia, U.S.A., Present Day
A picturesque flight over the Appalachian Mountains to Summertown, West Virginia gave Special Agent Eliana Solomon of the Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate, Anomaly Defense Division time to process the urgent report she’d received by email. Up until this week, the existence of werewolf packs had been concealed from the general population. Now reports of the secretive shape shifters exploded in her inbox. Where had this information been all this time? Had the government monitored them all along? If so, why had her boss, Bert Blackfeather, insisted on her obtaining proof of their existence, along with the jinnis? She’d pry an answer out of that closed mouth man—someday. Right now, she had a more pressing matter at hand.
Five days ago, three nine-year-old werewolf boys and their three eighteen-year-old sisters went on a birthday expedition in the heavily wooded state wildlife area and disappeared. By day, local human authorities, volunteers, and bloodhounds brought in from surrounding jurisdictions combed the forest, the hills, and caves. By night, pack members ran through the forest using their extraordinary senses—olfactory, visual, and auditory—to hunt for their missing kin. Divers also explored the waterways, all to no avail. No clues to the kids’ whereabouts had been found, not even a backpack—until two this morning.
A night security guard discovered the boys in the middle of the Adalwolf Winery parking lot. Slightly bruised and scratched up, but otherwise alive and well, in their human forms, the youngsters had no recollection of anything between arriving at the park and waking up in the parking lot with their back packs under their heads—their five-day-old lunches untouched.
Rushed to the ER and examined thoroughly, the boys displayed no evidence of physical abuse. The blank space in their minds where the memories should have been was inaccessible to parents and psychologists. If it weren’t for the fact that the three older girls were still missing, the local authorities wouldn’t continue to press the boys for information. Over time, their memories could return, but without ransom notes, calls or clues, the clock was running down for a successful search and rescue. The local police, state troopers, sheriff’s office, and the West Virginia Bureau of Investigation feared the operation would soon become a search and recovery.
The plane touched down, bounced along the runway, and Eliana’s cell began to vibrate.
The gruff voice of her boss boomed in her ear. “New development in the case.” Blackfeather paused. “A hiker found one of the missing girls in a culvert near an abandoned mine. Bites, claw marks. Throat ripped open. Damn thing nearly tore her head off.”
She shuddered. “Black bear?”
“Based on the paw prints around the body, the first responders are saying these weren’t bear bites. More like a dog—or wolf.”
“Boss, aside from zoos and wild animal preserves, there are no wolves in the eastern U.S.”
He sighed. “I stand corrected. Werewolf.”
Her stomach lurched, and she gripped the armrest so hard her knuckles turned white. Shit. Shit. Shit. A werewolf attacking one of its own? Why? What the hell was going on?
“West Virginia Division of Homeland Security has a car waiting for you, fully loaded with everything you’ll need for the investigation. Get to that scene.” Her boss clicked off.
Bossy desk jockey.
A flush of shame rushed over her. He’d taken on the orphan Anomaly Defense Division of the Science and Technology Directorate that no one else wanted, along with a mission no one else supported or believed in. As abrupt and abrasive as he could be, the Gulf War veteran deserved credit for giving her the opportunity to pursue what everyone else thought was something out of the tales of The Arabian Nights: jinnis. With the needed proof of werewolves and jinnis from Project Aladdin, support surged into the division. A stable funding source made her jinni hunting work possible So far, it seemed wherever there were werewolves, there was jinni activity.
This case was no different. According to the report, relationships between the local humans and werewolves were more than cordial. They were so intermarried, almost everyone was family. A large non-denominational wedding facility placed Summertown on an international list of destination weddings, like Hawaii and Las Vegas, but specifically for werewolves. A thriving bed and breakfast trade supported the wedding industry, along with other leisure activities, such as biking, hiking, white-water rafting, and winery and sightseeing tours. Murder of a werewolf girl wasn’t just bad for the family, it was bad for the town.
1. If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be? Epic.
2. What would you say inspired you to write it? The fact that four major religions are fascinated by the King Solomon, Queen of Sheba epic romance intrigued me and I wanted to know more and to create my own interpretation.
3. What was the source of inspiration for your protagonist? I was captivated by the notion of a strong female ruler in an era of male dominance. What made her different? How did she keep her throne? What made her different? I had to know more about the only foreign queen the Bible takes the time to include in a story of a great king, not once, but twice in Kings and Chronicles.
What about your antagonist? Some stories about the Queen of Sheba have indicated her origins were exotic and supernatural, with a mother who was a jinniyah, or genie. Jinn (or Djinn) is the plural of jinni (male) and jinniyah (female). Jinn are another entity like humans. Created from smokeless fire at the same time as angels and man, the Jinn have families and clans and can live to be over 1,000 years old. Just as there are good and bad people, there are good and bad Jinn. I liked the idea of having the antagonist be a lustful, evil jinni with designs on the Queen of Sheba—and her descendants.
4. Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it? Rarely. I have a To Do list of ideas for projects that stimulate me to get back on track.
5. Your all time favorite book? The Eight by Katherine Neville
6. What made you pick that one above all others? I love the way she wove two stories, one historical, one contemporary, and brought them together in the end. I tried to emulate that story structure with Kiss of the Virgin Queen.
7. What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project? I worked four years on Kiss of the Virgin Queen.
8. Would you say becoming an author has changed you? In what way?
My non-fiction (textbooks) have become much stronger, and I know more about the publishing world than I did in 2005. I’m much more savvy about what is or isn’t appropriate in either fiction or non-fiction publishing deals. I am happy to share those insights with others, and have done so in blogs and other publications. The first thing I say to any would be writer is produce the best possible manuscript/story in the cleanest format you can.
9. Was there ever a time, during your work on the e-book/book, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind? Yes, when the first book of my heart (Some Other Child) was rejected by over 80 agents in 2008, I nearly gave up. Instead, I put it in a drawer and wrote another novel, Desire and Deception, an erotic thriller that was picked up by Red Sage Publishing. After self-publishing and winning a Reviewer’s Choice Award from the Paranormal Romance Guild, Some Other Child was bought and published in 2014 by the Wild Rose Press. So the moral of that story is don’t give up on your story!
10. What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside writing?
In my day job, I’m Professor and Program Coordinator for an MS in Healthcare Management program. I create, schedule, and teach online and face to face courses, run three day residency weekends (think marathon workshop) for students, attend meetings, write reports, and am co-author and editor of three textbooks in the field. I am currently deep in edits on the third edition of my best-selling textbook, Introduction to Healthcare Management.
11. How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect?
I have received bad and acid reviews and criticism on award-winning books. When I read these reviews, I try to keep an open mind. I ask myself: Is this a fair criticism? Is this constructive? Can I learn anything from this review? Is it consistent with comments other reviewers have made? Is there anything in the review that has a shred of veracity? If not, then move on.
12. Is this title part of a series? Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect from the next e-books/books in the series?
This summer, I kicked off a new multicultural Kiss of the Jinni Hunter Series. Book 1, Kiss of the Silver Wolf released in August, and Book 2, Kiss of the Virgin Queen released in October. The jinni hunters work for Homeland Security in the Anomaly Defense Division of the Science and Technology Directorate. Their mission is to protect the Homeland. In the wrong hands, a jinni could become a weapon of mass destruction. If a terrorist ever found a way to conjure and command a jinni, the world would be on its knees. All the jinni hunters report to Bert Blackfeather, who has a few secrets up his sleeves, too. I’m currently working on Book 3, Kiss of the Burmese Prince.
13. What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series?
I’m plotting a ghost story, The Haunting of Hotel LaBelle. When hotel inspector, Tallulah Thompson and her pug Franny, are called in to investigate renovation delays and loss of customers in an historic hotel, she discovers a very annoyed and dapper turn-of-the-century innkeeper. Lucius Stewart is incensed by the changes in his hotel. The only catch is, he’s not alive, nor is he really dead and she’s the first person to see him in a hundred years. Tallulah has to work with the new hotel owners and the old to come up with compromises to keep everyone happy. Will she be able to save the historic hotel and her heart?
14. If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one book you’d absolutely wish to have with you? The Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha.
15. Name your favorite fruit. Apples.
16. Coffee or tea? Latte Grande, caffeinated, sweet with non-dairy creamer, please!
17. Favorite season? Summertime…and the living is easy…
18. How about fav time of 24 hours? 6 am when the world is asleep and I’m at the computer, creating.
19. Were you a boyscout/girlscout? Brownie and Girl Scout.
20. Favorite food for breakfast? Granola and almond milk.
21. Latest book you’ve bought and read? Day Shift by Charlaine Harris.
22. Favorite color, you know you want to tell us! Purple.
23. Cats or dogs? Both.
24. Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing? Candlelight, roses, and wine.
25. What song have you listened to most recently? All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor
26. If you could have any one superpower, it would be…Telekinesis
About the Author & Links:
Sharon Buchbinder has been writing fiction since middle school and has the rejection slips to prove it. An RN, she provided health care delivery, became a researcher, association executive, and obtained a PhD in Public Health. When not teaching or writing, she can be found fishing, walking her dogs, or breaking bread and laughing with family and friends in Baltimore, MD and Punta Gorda, FL.