With us today is Shelly Holt. I asked Shelly how she came up with the title of Tasting Fire. Here is her response.
Titles are one of the last things I do in writing a book or short story. How can you give your creation an accurate name if you haven't been properly introduced yet?
Tasting Fire wasn't always Tasting Fire. It was first called Leopard's Embrace, in fact on my hard drive are still the first 44 chapters and epilogue labeled as Leopard's Embrace. I think I went with Dharma's daughters and then Sacred daughter.
In the end, I had to basically summarize the book in the title and without giving away the ending (no spoilers here) the basic theme of the book is about enlightenment, (don't worry, it is a romance and there is lots of sex in the book.) The book is about spiritual, social and ecological enlightment, the term Tasting Fire is referring to the fire of spiritual enlightment.
I used many different theologies to help guide the spiritual aspects of the plot. Hopefully I did a good enough job of weaving them into the plot that they don't come off as too preachy or identifiable. The beautiful cover art I licensed from talented photographer Michael Tilton Williams is a representation of the Buddhist deity Yamantaka. He is known as a protector of dharma and slayer of death. I found the imagery quite appropriate after I researched Buddhist deities and was inspired by the cover when I decided on my title.
I'm really proud of the book and believe it will stand out as a strong, positive, and sexy (did I mention there's lots of sex in it) original tale that will delight and provoke those who read it.
Shape-shifters have always walked the earth. Shrouded in myth and folklore, hiding in the shadows, watching and waiting. Advances in modern science are now about to reveal them to the world. Kai Tenzin is the self appointed leader of the Pari people. He and his kind evolved from the most reclusive predators on earth. They live and hunt in the most fearsome and rugged terrain known to man, the Himalayas. Kai leaves his small village where the mountains touch the heavens, determined to do anything to protect his people. When he is forced to enlist the aid of the beautiful American scientist Dr. Rae Hales, the last thing he expects to find is a woman who will ensnare his heart and endanger them all. Their action-packed adventure will take them around the world to discover the truth behind the legends and reveal the future of humanity.
The short ride to Kizhi island was exhilarating on the open hydrofoil. Kai helped Rae off the boat as it docked at the seven mile long island. The tour group followed their guide off the dock and onto the island. They listened intently as the guide in stilted English advised them that the site had become a world heritage site in nineteen-ninety. There were more than eighty pieces of wooden architecture that made up the outdoor museum’s collection. The guide then gestured for the large group to follow him. The tour group was led up to a magnificent structure. The center piece of the collection that was known as The Church of Transfiguration.
Rae felt as if she had stepped right into a storybook. The guide started his official recitation on the history of the structure “the Church of Transfiguration has twenty two onion domes. It was built during the reign of Peter the Great. No nails were used in the construction and it was created by using interconnecting wood pieces only.” Kai stood back taking picture after picture of the breathtaking silver domes. The guide then indicated for them to enter and put his finger over his mouth to indicate silence.
As Kai and Rae walked in they could hear why the guide silenced them. A trio of singers were performing a deeply moving mass. Behind them a gold leaf Russian icon painting glinted in the light that was streaming in through the dusty windows. The effect transported the tour group back in time. They were now in a time before digital cameras, before cell phones, to a time when the Tzars ruled Imperial Russia with an iron fist.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
My name is Shelly Holt and I live in the middle of the harsh and unforgiving Mojave desert. I write my stories looking out of a window that shows sweeping desert views. Outside is a barren and severe landscape, yet inside my head lives a world filled with exotic shape-shifters come to life, pulled from the pages of myth and legend, ready to entice and seduce any reader brave enough to take them on.
It's funny, I never wanted to be a writer! In 7th grade English, we were given an assignment. We were told to write an original poem and turn it in the next day. I was determined to turn in not a good poem, but a great poem. I spent the whole night working on it instead of watching my favorite show, The Waltons. (Hey! it was 1980.) I turned it in the next day. Apparently, I succeeded a little too well and was accused of copying it from a book. (1980 remember, no internet yet). The teacher stated and I quote "this is too good for a seventh grader, where did you copy it from?" Well, I didn't write for 30 years after that. In my 40's, after a life changing move to rural Nevada as a caregiver to my father, I realized I needed a way to earn a little money on the side. I did some research on the internet and read all about a certain little book, about a certain little college student and a handsome billionaire with some ahem! (issues.) I decided after reading that book, I could do that, and Tasting Fire was born. I'll admit it's been strange revisiting a talent buried deep inside for so long, forgotten, but apparently not lost. It's been an important journey and one I am quite thankful for and excited to see where it takes me.
P.S. Mr. Jordan, I really did write that poem!
Shelly will award a $20 Starbucks GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.