Saturday, September 7, 2013

Never Deal With Dragons Promo and Giveaway!!

Book 1: Never Deal with Dragons
Publication date: July 22, 2013
Cover Price: $3.99
Format: Digital
ISBN-13: 97-81426895869

Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Carina Press
Consoling a sobbing dragon and serving pig buffets are just part of the job for Myrna Banks. Working for a mediation firm, it's her job to get humans compensated for damages caused by the dragons who now rule. But her "typical" day is interrupted by Trian Chobardan, an old flame who sneaked out of her bed two years ago, taking her heart and a handful of classified documents with him.

Myrna would love to show Trian the door, but he's been sent by North America's reigning dragon lord for help negotiating a truce with a powerful rival to avert war. Myrna agrees to help, even though she'll be stuck with Trian as a partner.

As the two work together, Myrna finds Trian to be surprisingly supportive—and still irresistibly attractive. Though her brain tells her not to forget his betrayal, her body feels differently. When they learn the enemy dragon lord is planning something no one could have imagined, Myrna has to learn who she can trust before she loses not only her heart, but her life.

Readers and reviewers say this dragon story is dangerously hot.

Winner of the Romance Writers of America®
Golden Heart Award ~ Paranormal Romance Category in 2012.

“The many twists and turns of this intriguing story keep it exciting and set the stage for the series.”
~Library Journal Xpress Reviews

“I am utterly in love! With this story. With these characters. With Lorenda Christensen.”
~Darynda Jones, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Charlie Davidson series

Never Deal with Dragons is a great new read. I highly recommend it to fans of paranormal romance.”
~Melinda, Paranormal Kiss

Never Deal with Dragons proves to be a funny, suspenseful and exciting paranormal romance with sexy dragons and a spunky heroine that is a fantastic read from the beginning paragraph to the final sentence.”

“Write faster Lorenda you've got yourself a new fan!”
~Lesley, My Keeper Shelf

Chapter One

It’s amazing how often my day starts with a three-legged dragon and an enraged dairy farmer. I stood, clad in a set of knee-high muck boots and a brand new pencil skirt, and tried to restore some order to my first appointment of the day, an encounter involving a very hungry dragon and the dairy farmer whose cattle had been unfortunate enough to be within grabbing distance at meal time.
“It was j-j-just a l-little sn-sn-snack!! My doctor’s appointment took way l-longer than it was supposed to and I was h-h-hungry!” The floor literally shook with the dragon’s sobs. Isiwyth Armatoth, lovely purple dragon and niece of our nation’s dragon lord, balanced atop a thick wooden beam that served as the room’s sole dragon perch. Her birdlike claws contracted rhythmically with tension as she tried to explain herself through tear-induced hiccups. Mrs. Isiwyth Armatoth was a mess.
And so was my office. The cattle hadn’t all hit the floor when Isiwyth lost her lunch. Instead, their mangled remains had landed dead center of my sturdy wooden desk, and were currently dripping a mixture of saliva, blood and stomach acid onto the small space heater I used to warm my toes while riffling through paperwork. The noxious fumes were probably permeating the entire building at this point.
My coworkers loved me.
While her hind legs made kindling out of my office furniture, her front legs waved wildly to punctuate her sobs. Well, her front leg. The other one was missing, thanks to the farmer’s skill with game traps. I shifted slightly onto my toes so I’d be ready when I had to move fast. Isiwyth’s claw had started to heal quite nicely, but I still had to dodge the spatters of blood she sent sailing with each gesture. And I had to do it discreetly. In a pencil skirt and muck boots.
I waited until the volume of her tears had dropped from deafening to loud, and then pulled out my most professional tone of voice. “Mrs. Armatoth, we understand. I can only imagine how much energy it takes to keep those two dragonlings healthy and growing. When did you say they were due again?” The doctor’s appointment that had kept Isiwyth from her normal lunch was a checkup on the two tiny dragons stretching her already enormous stomach.
The purple dragon sniffled once more, but stopped crying. “Next month. I have the ultrasound photos if you’d like to see.” Her gorgeous green eyes gazed into mine, judging the sincerity of my interest.
I smiled widely. “Absolutely.” Anything to get Isiwyth’s mind off her injured claw. The dragon giggled, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Apparently even expectant mothers loved talking about their children, and Isiwyth was no exception.
As Isiwyth dug around for the prints in a large satchel strapped to her side , I dropped the smile and arranged my face into a more serious expression before I turned to the room’s other occupant. Switching from dragonspeak to English, I laid a hand on the farmer’s shoulder. “Mr. Sompston. I’m so sorry about today’s events. Would you mind telling me exactly what happened?” I’d managed to piece together quite a bit from Isiwyth’s sobbing monologue, but it was never a bad idea to hear both sides of the story.
Mr. Sompston raised his face from his hands and met my eyes. “Annabelle! She ate my Annabelle!” With those words, Mr. Sompston promptly broke down in tears that nearly rivaled the dragon’s.
I blinked. This wasn’t good. From his stony-eyed expression upon their arrival, I’d assumed the dairy farmer was simply irritated at the loss of his cattle and impatient to hammer out the details of the compensation he was due for the consumption of his stock. I didn’t realize someone had been killed. Here at DRACIM, officially known as Dragon Relations, Arbitration, and Cooperative Interspecies Mediation, property loss was one of the more common cases we handled, especially here in Reparations, the department where I was employed. But if Mrs. Armatoth had indeed eaten Annabelle, I needed to get the legal team in here.
I cleared my throat. “Excuse me—did you say Mrs. Armatoth ate someone named Annabelle? Was this your wife?”
Mr. Sompston wiped his nose and frowned up at me. “Of course not. I’m not married.” Once more his eyes welled with tears, but he dashed a hand over his face and visibly composed himself. “Annabelle was my baby. I raised her after her mama died giving birth. I bottle-fed her from my own kitchen floor.”
From his own kitchen what? And then it came to me.
“Mr. Sompston, are you saying Annabelle was a pet?”
The farmer glared at me from bloodshot eyes. I was obviously not displaying the appropriate level of outrage. “Annabelle was more than a pet. She may have been a cow, but she was family. And that thing—” he pointed to Isiwyth, who was waiting patiently with ultrasound photos in hand, “— gobbled her up like she was nothing more than an appetizer. I wish that trap of mine had taken her head instead of an arm.” He glanced at my desk, where parts of Annabelle still dripped to the floor, and lost it completely, his chest heaving with the effort to suck in enough air for the sounds of despair rolling from his mouth.
I sighed. No one could accuse my life of being glamorous. In fact, on days like today, it was downright annoying. Especially when this entire mess should have belonged to my boss, were he in the habit of arriving on time for work. But Emory, as usual, had yet to make an appearance.
My name is Myrna Banks, and I’m a dragonspeaker. And today’s little scene was what I handled for a living.
When a dragon was caught on film as she flew over Portugal shortly before the end of World War III, humans’ belief in the superiority of their race was rocked to the core. Human armies quickly redirected their focus from bombing each other to the goal of eliminating these interlopers. The massive creatures possessing the ability to completely take over our planet suddenly seemed more important than oil rights or religious disagreements.
Most historians agree that World War III officially ended when the charge to kill dragons began.
Scientists managed to gather enough data to infer the dragons had actually been created by humans—more specifically they found it was some doctor in a research facility who tripped over a massive unforeseen by-product of genetic splicing in an effort to cure cancer.
The doctor did manage to cure cancer—but he also mixed up the human DNA with that of some particularly hardy reptiles in a few hundred test tubes. With cancer cured and his research project complete, he hopped on a plane to accept his Nobel Prize in Medicine and left an underpaid assistant to dispose of his earlier test subjects.
The assistant tossed all the tubes into an in-house incineration unit and voila, after a three- year incubation period, dragons were born.
It was ten years before the humans figured out what happened, and meanwhile the dragon race had been happily breeding. By the time of the Portugal photo incident, there were thousands of them. Completely freaked out by the new life-forms, humans quickly tried to eradicate the dragons.
However, on top of their growing numbers, the creatures were practically unstoppable. Impervious to the effects of a vast majority of our weapons—nuclear or otherwise—dragons had seated themselves firmly at the top of the food chain. The human race had been in real danger of becoming extinct.
Until dragonspeakers were found.
Only a few humans were able to turn a series of dragon snorts, huffs, and smoke streams into something approximating a human linguistic pattern. One such individual, Joseph Green, managed to persuade some of the political higher-ups to give him a chance to negotiate with the dragons. His attempt proved successful, and he was able to hammer out an agreement with them that not only stopped the war, but provided humans a set of guidelines that protected our well-being and livelihood.
Joseph, with the full approval of the remaining world governments, proceeded to install an office of dragonspeakers near the cities around the world where the seven original dragons decided to settle. Thus the birth of the DRACIM empire.
I worked in the Tulsa DRACIM office, in the middle of the North American dragon lord’s territory. Five years ago, I’d honed my talent with as many books as I could get my hands on, finished college, and then I’d applied for a job. Today, I was still waiting for an opportunity to move out of the business of vomit cleanup and into the more glamorous position of arbitrator.
Which, granted, still involved an inordinate amount of vomit cleanup, but at least I’d get a pay hike, new boss and fancy nameplate hung outside my door. As Emory’s assistant, I’d been doing all of his arbitration work anyway. It would be nice to have a set of business cards giving me credit for my trouble.
Unfortunately, today was not shaping up to be that day. I pinched the bridge of my nose and willed my headache to subside. Isiwyth had long since tired of my conversation with Mr. Sompston—I’d been too busy panicking about dead wives to translate—and she was currently using one of my pencils to pick her teeth. Her actions only served as a reminder to Mr. Sompston that his favorite dairy cow was now a hamburger. His understated sobs morphed into outright wailing.
So of course my boss chose that moment to open my office door.
“What the hell is going on in here?” Emory shot me a look that was a mixture of shock and annoyance. His gaze absorbed the chaos of the room, and I knew things were about to get interesting when he placed himself behind my desk and hitched his pants up an inch or so under his round belly. The move was his “sheriff’s stance” and it signaled that he was about to start barking orders. I hustled to reach his side, knowing that Emory’s particular brand of “mediation”—an odd mixture of complete nonsense coupled with an alarming number of derogatory slurs on dragonkind in general—was the last thing we needed here.
To this day I’m still not sure how Emory managed to land his job. He wasn’t a dragonspeaker, which was rare enough here at DRACIM, but on top of that fact, he didn’t even like dragons. More than once he’d referred to their species as “those filthy beasts” when speaking to his coworkers, and more than half of my job was trying to find creative ways to translate his words into something the dragons wouldn’t want to kill us over during arbitration.
I’d heard rumors that Emory had some political buddies who managed to wheel and deal him into DRACIM management, but I’d never found actual proof. His continued presence with the organization was one of life’s great mysteries. The majority of individuals lucky enough to interact with dragons on a daily basis realized that most of them were pretty lovable if you could ignore their penchant for loud roaring and very raw food.
Speaking of raw food…
I’d managed to make it halfway across the room when my rubber-soled muck boots hit a slick spot on the floor. My arms windmilled wildly as I attempted to do the impossible and stay upright. Just when I’d given up any chance of saving my skirt from the same blood-covered fate as my blouse, I felt a hand on my shoulder and another against my lower back.
“Easy there,” a male voice drawled.
My heart stopped. I knew that voice.
“Hello, sugar. Long time no see.”
“Trian.” I spat his name from my mouth like a rotten apple and struggled to loosen his grip.
A year ago, I’d felt myself privileged to hear that smooth rumble near my ear while snuggled in my bed during a particularly cold December. A year ago, I’d been happily dreaming of an engagement ring for our one-year anniversary. And a year ago he’d disappeared from my life without a word, taking some very sensitive work papers with him, and dooming me to who knew how many more years under the incompetent management of Emory.
Before, there’d been no question I was on the fast track with my chosen profession. With my specialized training—I’d studied all the dragon history DRACIM had available, and knew more about international dragon politics than anyone in the building—I was jumping rungs on the career ladder.
Until Trian.

Copyright © 2013 by Lorenda Christensen Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.

What has been the biggest learning curve being a published author?

Deadlines! I’m horrible with them. I always set goals based on an environment in which nothing goes wrong – no emergency dental care, no sick family members, and no cross-continental move. (Yes, all of these things have happened.)

I’m slowly learning to set more realistic goals, but most of my time has been spent just plunking away at the keyboard and forcing myself to write whether I feel like it or not. When I was unpublished, no one cared about my word count. Now it feels like almost everyone does!

Do you have a specific writing style?

If I had to choose one word to describe my writing style, it would probably be “irreverent.” Unlike some authors, I will never be looked upon as someone with a great literary voice. The way I put words together isn’t poetry like Meredith Duran, and it’s not visceral like Karen Marie Moning. It’s brief, to the point, and decorated with a healthy dose of humor. I’ll never be a literary master, but I hope I can make someone smile.

How did you come up with the title?

I’m a sucker for alliteration, and since Myrna works at an arbitration office, I couldn’t think of a better way to give clues to the plot of the book than combining dragons and business dealings. Thus, Never Deal with Dragons was born.

How much of the book is realistic?

Ha – in truth, not much. The one thing I did try to do is ground the story in a real-life location, and one that I’m familiar with. The businesses I mention in Tulsa? They’re real. In order for me to write a story, I first have to see it. Making the surroundings familiar (at least to me) gave me more time to focus on the things that weren’t so familiar (like the dragons!)

Many romance novels set in the Midwest or South feature ranchers, cowboys, or other western themes in their pages.

I, being raised in a very small Oklahoma community only minutes from the Arkansas border, grew up around ranchers and cowboys, and I have to say, I have a hard time finding this type of “southern” character appealing. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not because I didn’t grow up around lots of awesome people. I did. But when I’m reading fiction, I want that story to transport me somewhere I’m NOT familiar with.

I wanted my readers to see a different side of Oklahoma and its citizens; maybe one they aren’t as familiar with.

What book are you reading now?

I’m currently right in the middle of Cecilia Grant’s A Woman Entangled. I read her first two and was just blown away by the amount of description and emotion she could contain on a page.

I’m a huge historical romance reader, and I’m always so impressed with how deftly the authors manage to write stories that really “feel” historical – the clothing, the speech, the social customs are all spot on. I don’t think they get enough credit for just how hard that must be.

But for books closer to my genre, I just finished Nalini Singh’s Heart of Obsidian. The Psy Changling world has really been shaken up with this book, and I can’t wait for the next!

What are your current projects?

I’m in the middle of edits for book #2 – Dodging the Dragons – which will feature Carol’s story and should be out sometime next year.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

That a good editor is a make it or break it deal. I’d written, re-written, and edited Never Deal with Dragons about twenty times, and it was “perfect.” And then I got my editorial letter back and I was blown away with Angela’s suggestions. Each and every one of her comments took an okay story and stepped it up a level. I’m really proud of the book NDWD became with her help.

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Lorenda Christensen juggles multiple roles, including that of wife, mother, accountant and award-winning author. She attributes this ability to assume different identities to her irreverent sense of humor, her willingness to abandon any semblance of tidy housekeeping and large doses of chocolate.

In 2012, Lorenda’s debut novel, Never Deal with Dragons, was selected as the Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® Paranormal Romance winner, which allowed her to present an acceptance speech hailing the genius of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. (Because everybody knows the Fresh Prince is awesome.)

Shortly after winning the prestigious Golden Heart ®award, Lorenda signed a three-book deal with Carina Press. The Dragons Trilogy debuted on July 22, 2013, with the release of Never Deal with Dragons. She is currently at work on the next two books in the series.

A native of Eastern Oklahoma, Lorenda lives with her husband and two sons in a house that feels far too small during the stay-inside winter months. Lorenda loves chocolate, hates snakes and, despite living two years in Bangalore next-door to a native preparer of Indian cuisine, cannot cook anything but ground beef. She is a recovering nail biter and is currently celebrating five years bite-free.


To schedule an interview, public appearance or book signing; to request a review copy; or to obtain promotional materials (digital images, author bio, etc.), please contact:

Maria Connor
Author Liaison / Publicist
Telephone: (858) 431-6777

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