GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Interview: Paranormal Romance Author Deborah Blake + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Interview: Paranormal Romance Author Deborah Blake + giveaway

Today we have the wickedly wonderful (see what I did there?) Deborah Blake visiting the flock. Read on to find out about her Baba Yaga series, how she got owned by cats and where she falls in the Coke vs Pepsi debate!

Sharon: I’m not sure where to even start with you! The writing, the witchcraft, jewelry making, tarot reading, the 120 year old farmhouse or your clowder! We should probably mention your successful Baba Yaga series, to keep the publicist happy (waves to Jessica) then we will leave the safety of the path and head into the dark and—OUCH! *rubs head*

Katie: *puts down broomstick prop* You were getting off topic…

Sharon: Would you tell our readers a little about the Baba Yaga series? And why you picked the Russian fairy tale witch

Deborah: The series (which currently consists of a prequel novella, Wickedly Magical, book 1, Wickedly Dangerous, and book 2, Wickedly Wonderful) is based on the classic Russian fairy tales about Baba Yaga, a witch of great power and (one might say) uncertain temperament. And I picked her for two reasons. One: I love retold fairy tales, but other authors have already used many of the usual bunch like Snow White or Sleeping Beauty, and I wanted something completely different. And two: I love the fact that Baba Yaga was neither evil nor good (although she was often used to scare small children). How she responded was based on the goals and honesty of those who sought her out. A true seeker would be tested. Those who were unworthy, well, we won’t talk about what happened to them.
Russian Baba vs Deborah's Babas

5 Sheep Review: Wickedly Dangerous (Baba Yaga #1)
5 Sheep Review: Wickedly Wonderful (Baba Yaga #2)

Sharon: Will each book feature a different Baba Yaga? And what’s with the dog on each cover? Speaking of covers…OMG what great covers you got! I also adore the retro cover of The Witch’s Broom.
Deborah: Wow—that’s a lot of questions. <grin> Yes, each book will feature a different Baba, although the others may appear when you least expect them. The old tales often referred to the Baba’s sisters (who had the same name), which gave me the perfect opportunity to create a world where Baba Yaga was a title, not just one person—which meant that I could give each Baba her own story, and her own happily ever after. (I love a good HEA.) The dogs, as you know, are actually dragons. In the Russian stories, Baba Yaga was often associated with a dragon called Chudo-Yudo. Each of my Babas has her own companion Chudo-Yudo, and the first two are disguised as giant dogs (a white pit bull and a black Newfoundland, respectively) because, well, people might notice a DRAGON. If I get to write book three, however, you might be in for a little bit of a surprise…
I love the covers too—I was fortunate enough to have Tony Mauro do them (you might recognize his work from Yasmine Galenorn’s covers). He did an amazing job bringing my characters to life. And I agree with you about the cover of The Witch’s Broom! Apparently, so did Llewellyn, since we are now doing a tarot deck with that same retro witch theme. Guess who is working on that right now?
Sharon: What a fun deck that will be! Do you have an example of one of the cards? 
Deborah: I do! The artwork is by a fabulous illustrator named Elisabeth Alba. This is the Queen of Pentacles.

Katie: Can there be a male Baba?

Deborah: As far as I can tell, all the Baba Yagas are and have been female.

Katie: If you were a bouquet which flowers would be included?
Deborah: Probably a bunch of wild flowers, many of which are not only pretty, but have both medicinal and magical uses. With a few crimson peonies just to add an exotic touch, and maybe a rose or two, complete with thorns.
Katie: *backs up slowly while laughing nervously*
*Sharon quietly hands Katie a pair of pruning shears...just in case.*

Sharon: When did you begin studying witchcraft? And how do you define it? What would you consider the most essential item a practitioner should have?
Deborah: I started practicing about 17 years ago. And there are almost as many definitions of witchcraft as there are witches, but for me, the best way to describe it is this: A nature-based spiritual path that follows both a god and a goddess, and is based on ancient Pagan practices that have been updated for the modern world. Plus, there’s magic.
The most essential item is heart, which luckily we all have.
Katie: And can you make me a potion to FINALLY track down a vampire?!
Deborah: Yes, I can. Of course, if I give it to you, I’ll have to kill you.
Katie: *runs to car but finds doors are locked, realizes the keys are back inside!*
Sharon: She’ll be back *shakes vampire teeth key chain*

Sharon: What was special about the farmhouse that made you want to live there?
Deborah: There were some practical issues, like the fact that it was the right distance from the town where I work, and within my (pathetic) budget, but mostly, it just felt right. I kid you not—I knew as soon as my Realtor and I drove into the driveway, before I ever set foot into the house itself. Although it didn’t hurt that it had wood floors, a space out behind the barn that was perfect for a magical circle, and was set back from the road and surrounded by trees, so it was private and quiet.

Sharon: Did you pick your cats or did they pick you? And since cat pictures are considered gold in internet currency would you share some pics?
Deborah: Ha! They definitely picked me. Especially Magic the Cat, Queen of the Universe (my black cat). I originally went to the shelter to get one kitten to be company for the elderly cat I had at the time. There was one set of four kittens (it was March) along with their skinny, sickly, terrified mama. I was looking at one of the gray kittens when this little black ball of fur muscled her way up to the front of the cage and said decisively, “MEOW. MEOW. MEOW.” Which clearly translated to: “I don’t care who else you pick, but lady, you are taking me.” So I did, of course, along with her brother Mystic, and their mom Minerva, who was so clearly unadoptable that the shelter folks begged me to take her as a “bonus” and waived all the usual fees. A few years later, I went to a different shelter for one cat, and came home with two, because the second one picked me too. Needless to say, I am now banned from going to shelters. Here are a few pictures of Magic, Angus, and Samhain (named after the Celtic holiday they based Halloween on, because she is black and orange).
Sharon: *collective sigh at cuteness* So when did you learn to speak cat?
Deborah: What? Can’t everyone?

Katie: If you could be a sundae, what flavor and toppings would you have? 
Deborah: Hot fudge, with extra hot fudge, and real whipped cream.

Sharon: Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry you’ve made?
Deborah: I have a LOT of favorites. (I know—I’m supposed to be selling the things, not keeping them!) But my most favorite are the pentacle necklaces I make for myself that have stones for prosperity, or healing, or just for beauty. ( [Note: we don’t sell things online]. I do have an Etsy store…and any day, I’m going to put things in it! )

we are a PG13 site you silly lambs!
Sharon: If you could own any piece of art in the world which would it be?
Deborah: Michelangelo’s David. (What can I say—I like beautiful naked men.)
Katie: Ok, chocolate and naked men had me running back! Now we're talking!
Rapid Fire
Sharon: Ability to fly or breathe underwater?
Deborah: Fly!

Katie: Dragon pet or Shark pet?
Deborah: Have you read my books? Dragon, of course!
Katie: Hey, you never know! hehe

Sharon: ghosts or goblins?

Deborah: Ghosts, as long as they’re friendly.

Katie: Kill'em fast or Make it hurt?
Deborah: Fast. I’m efficient that way.

Sharon: mountain air or ocean air?
Deborah: Ocean! I love the ocean, although I rarely get to go.
Sharon: Do you like to get in the ocean or just watch
Deborah: I don’t actually swim well (I am definitely not a surfer like Beka in Wickedly Wonderful), so I like to wade in up to about my ankles. But I do love to sit by the ocean or walk on the beach.
*Katie scratches asking Deborah to play canon ball in the dungeon pool...will feed some sheep instead*

Katie: Dick Tracy or Perry Mason?
Deborah: MacGyver

Sharon: Coke or Pepsi? (you have to pick one…even if it is just which can you think is better <G>)
Deborah: I don’t drink either, but I grew up with Coke, so I think Pepsi tastes weird. Personally, I’d rather have a glass of wine!
Katie: Yes, but she said COKE! *fist pump*
Sharon: *grumble, grumble*
Deborah: I said WINE

Katie: Halloween party or New Year’s Eve party?
Deborah: LOL…Halloween, of course.
Sharon: “Kow-a-bunga” or “yippie-kai-ay mofo” (we are a PG13 site <G>)
Deborah: Yippie!

Wickedly Wonderful (A Baba Yaga Novel #2)
by Deborah Blake
Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
December 2nd 2014

by Berkley
Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…

Though she looks like a typical California surfer girl, Beka Yancy is in fact a powerful yet inexperienced witch who’s struggling with her duties as a Baba Yaga. Luckily she has her faithful dragon-turned-dog for moral support, especially when faced with her biggest job yet…

A mysterious toxin is driving the Selkie and Mer from their homes deep in the trenches of Monterey Bay. To investigate, Beka buys her way onto the boat of Marcus Dermott, a battle-scarred former U.S. Marine, and his ailing fisherman father.

While diving for clues, Beka drives Marcus crazy with her flaky New Age ideas and dazzling blue eyes. She thinks he’s rigid and cranky (and way too attractive). Meanwhile, a charming Selkie prince has plans that include Beka. Only by trusting her powers can Beka save the underwater races, pick the right man, and choose the path she’ll follow for the rest of her life…

About this Author:
Author of seven non-fiction books from Llewellyn. Circle, Coven & Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice (2007), Everyday Witch A to Z (2008), The Goddess is in the Details (2009), Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook (2010) Witchcraft on a Shoestring (2010), Everyday Witch Book of Rituals, and The Witch's Broom. I am also the author of the Baba Yaga series from Berkley Romance, including Wickedly Magical (novella), Wickedly Dangerous, and Wickedly Wonderful.
When not writing, Deborah runs The Artisans’ Guild, a cooperative shop she founded with a friend in 1999, and also works as a jewelry maker, tarot reader, and energy healer. She lives in a 100 year old farmhouse in rural upstate New York with five cats who supervise all her activities, both magickal and mundane.


  1. Replies
    1. It really was! I don't think I've ever had this much fun with an interview ever!

  2. Thanks for the great interview. If I had a dragon who was a dog it would have to be a Doberman. I used to have one and want another one.

  3. Hi again Deborah! Such an awesome interview! I am definitely going to be all over that tarot deck when it comes out and who doesn't love a Tony Mauro cover? Congrats on the new release Deborah!

    1. Thanks, Rhianna! And yes, his art is amazing. Lucky, lucky author!

  4. Amazing interview, as usual ladies! I have the prequel and first book, and I can't wait to get my paws on this second Baba Yaga tale! Absolutely adore the Tony Mauro cover too!

  5. Really enjoyed this interview. I have the first book in the series, looking forward to reading the rest! If I had a dragon who turned into a dog, it would have to be a dachshund --- they're as bold as they come!

    1. Happy reading! And er...I'll have to consider that for future books.

  6. Hehe, loved the interview. Always so fun to read. Does a wolf count? That would be pretty cool.

  7. I'd have to say a beagle/beagle mix like my Sammie... cuz he thinks he's so tough and it would be awesome if he could turn into a dragon :) Thanks for sharing!

    1. I'm pretty sure my black cat Magic is at least part dragon...she's certainly got the personality to go with it!

  8. Hmm I would have a malamute. They are neat dogs.

  9. I'm with Sophia! What a totally fun and informative interview! Really loved it! Hugs...

  10. I would rather it be a big cat, like a Maine Coon, but if it has to be a dog, either a husky or weinerman.

  11. Mine would be an Scottish Deerhound.

  12. If I had a dragon who turned into a large full size Pitbull, loveable too.

  13. mine would be a Doberman. great interview and thanks for the giveaway

  14. Mine would be an Irish Wolfhound, large, loyal and lovable dogs.

  15. A Chihuahua, because that would be hilarious!
    Mary G Loki

  16. Great, fun interview. I would have to pick a Rottweiler. That would make him a Rottagon. lol
    Blessings & Thanks to All