Thursday, October 3, 2013

Getting to know author Cora J. Ramos

Welcome to my Reading Nook, Cora J. Ramos. Please make yourself at home and let my cabana boys/girls get you a drink.

Comfortable? Wonderful. Now let’s get started.

To get us started can you tell us a little about what you are working on or have coming out?

I started this newly published novel, Dance the Dream Awake, when I came back from an extraordinary trip to Mexico, where I was exposed to the “magic” of place and people. I believe in synchronicity and around that time I had been reading Carlos Castenada’s work. So my head was filled with thoughts of sorcerers, shamans, magic and Mexico. I had never written a novel before, but knew I would someday. I have a background in short stories, some published in an anthology with two author friends, so I was not totally new to writing.

A déjà vu incident at the ruins of the pyramid at Coba, in the Yucatan, spawned the idea. The feeling of having lived a life there in that area was so strong I had to write the story that evolved.

 If we asked your muse to describe you using five words, what do you think they would say?

Very interesting question. He would say, “Disciplined but a bit scattered.”

Name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you.

I often start my writing inspiration by free-form painting—sort of like automatic writing, only with paint. By allowing my creative mind to work with color and design, I avoid words and that is somehow freeing, and then the images come along with snatches of story. The rest is work.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Well since I believe in reincarnation, and I am here in this place for a reason, I should say here, in California (which I love and chose to be in even though I was born in New York), but I always want to be somewhere else-San Francisco, Hawaii, the ocean, the mountain, in the redwoods, traveling around the country, Tahiti. And so it goes. But since I chose writing in my retirement, then this chair is where I want to be right now, the outside is incidental—for the moment.

If someone hasn't read any of your work, what book would you recommend that they start with and why?

Well since I only have this one novel published, I would have to name it, Dance the Dream Awake. But if someone doesn’t want to read a novel and likes short stories, then my shared anthology with two writer friends would be a good choice, Valley Fever, Where Murder is Contagious. They are stories set in the San Joaquin Valley of California, of murder and suspense. It was published years ago but just this past month was named our library’s choice pick for best summer read. I think there may still be copies on Amazon and I can be contacted for a copy on my website.

Where do you find the inspirations for your stories?

Inspiration is all around and can come from anywhere, but for me, I like the odd, the strange, the idea that walks on a fine line between the accepted and that which lies just outside of reality as we know it. Reincarnation and the possibilities that affords, moving through time, ancient cultures melded with today’s possibilities are food for inspiration.

Are your characters able to love or do they need to be taught?

My novel characters struggle with things that interfere with their coming into love and finding fulfillment. They have to work for it. My short stories are about that dark, mysterious edge I spoke of earlier—of emotions that drive us to make bizarre, dangerous or deadly decisions.

Do you have a book that was easiest to write or one that was the hardest?

The book I am in the midst of writing now had a strange birth. There is a character in my first novel that has yet to find love and fulfillment so I started a second book with him in mind. It dipped back into a previous life in ancient Japan (as my present novel dips back into ancient Maya). The past life became stronger, coming through more and more, until one day one of my critique partners said she wanted to hear more about that story. I had been feeling that as well and decided at that point to pull out that past life story and write it as a stand-alone sizzling romantic novella of ancient Japan. But, it kept getting longer and longer and more involved, coming rather quickly. So now it will be a sizzling romantic suspense novel. I love spending time with those characters. I think readers will also enjoy them. I hope to have it out this year if all goes well.

 If you could collaborate with one author who would it be? 

Pamela Clare. She writes such strong alpha male characters and I love all of them. Hot, hot, hot.

Coffee, tea or other drink to get you moving in the morning? 

Coffee, two cups. (One cup in reality because I use half caffeine and half regular) I get too jittery if I have too much caffeine even though I lo-o-o-v-e coffee.

What is coming up from you in 2013? Anything you want to tease us with?

As I mentioned above, my next novel will be Haiku Dance, a passionate love story that takes place in Heian Japan (980A.D), around the same time as The Tales of Genji was written, about a samurai who has to fight his way back to the woman and love that was always there for him, but which he hadn’t been ready for—a journey of self-discovery and self-mastery, of love against all odds.

Anything else you want to add? (Can be your links, etc)

Links:
Amazon – paperback & e-book
Pinterest - where you will find boards dedicated to: Dance the Dream Awake and my work in process: Haiku Dance


Book Blurb:

Dance the Dream Awake is a romantic suspense story of redemption set in present day that dips back into a past life in the latter days of ancient Mayan history before the Spanish came.

Every night, a dark, dangerous priest adorned in a feathered headdress heats up artist Tessa Harper’s nightmares. Strange green beads come into her possession under odd circumstances as she plans a trip to Mexico’s Yucatan. She hopes that by going to the “belly of the beast” she might understand why she is having this repeating dream of a Mayan sacrifice.       
Disturbing incidents with a shaman, a man and a pyramid in Mexico City forces her to the Yucatan earlier than planned, where she meets Nick, an archaeologist she met on the plane, who she is drawn to inexplicably. After Nick unearths a new tomb at his dig, events start to unravel in an avalanche of curanderas (female shamans of Mexico), magic beads, sex and prophetic warnings as a past life emerges for Tessa.
Her neighbor, Jack, warns her to be careful when she begins to search out why someone is buying her paintings that he suspects is not for love of art.
In a moment of panic, when all their lives become entwined in the warnings of the curanderas, her dreams and the story of the beads, she is convinced that someone is out to kill her.
While seeking to understand the meaning of her nightmares, she is led to a shocking revelation. Will she survive the dangers and the men? Is she running for her life, or from love?

Excerpt:
A strikingly handsome Mexican man with shiny, slicked-back hair stood at my table. With one hand in his pocket and the other holding a drink, wearing an expensive, cream-colored linen suit, he was too perfect—like he’d stepped off a 1940’s movie set. A hotel gigolo maybe?  I bit my lip to keep from laughing at the thought. I’d been watching too many old forties movies the past month during all those nights I resisted falling asleep to keep from having nightmares.
“Will you give me the pleasure to dance with you?” His accented voice was deep, melodious—wonderful. He held out his hand.
I smiled. I was up for a little fun and wanted to see if my first impression was right. “Love to.”
He was tall, and when he pulled me close I fit comfortably in his arms. His intent look unnerved me, sending quivers of electricity running down my spine.
“Are you always this direct?” I flirted.
“Only to a woman I sense is looking for something.”
Ah-ha, he is a gigolo. I smiled, prepared for his proposition. “And just what do you think I’m looking for?”
He laughed. “Not what you think. You are looking for something you do not even know yet.” His gaze penetrated too deeply. “It is in your eyes.”         
I glanced away. “And what exactly is it you see?” I tried to keep the sarcasm out of my voice.
“If I knew that, I could charge money for being—how you say—psychic.” He laughed with such delight that his charm encompassed me playfully like a room full of balloons, gently nudging me to release my reticence.
As he pulled me closer, the delicious scent of lime cologne mixed with the musk of his skin, enveloped me. I couldn’t hold back a smile. He was good.
“What I see is a woman alone, who is not used to being alone.” He pulled back to give me a questioning look.  
Here it comes. I always wondered how gigolos actually made it clear they were available for money. I was about to find out.
“I usually stay at El Presidente Hotel when I am in Mexico City. Now I understand why I was drawn here tonight.” He said more seriously.
The music changed to a tango. I hesitated, but his hands moved expertly, directing my body and overcoming my resistance. I followed easily. When the music ended, he dipped me almost to the floor. “My name is Porfirio. What is yours?”
He sliced through my reserve and I laughed uncontrollably both at myself and at his unrelenting confidence.



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