Confessions of a Book Addict by Vivien Dean

August 9, 2017

Confessions of a Book Addict


I was nine years old when I read my first adult romance. My school librarian had yet to cotton on to the fact that my two-book allowance at checkout barely got through me a single night, let alone a whole week, so I supplemented my reading addiction with whatever I could find around the house. The Encyclopedia Brittanica. Good Housekeeping magazines. Big band LP album covers and liner notes. I devoured it all. When I got too hungry for more fiction, I finally braved the last frontier – my grandmother’s romance novel stash.

I came by my addiction naturally. Everyone in my family is a reader. Toss in the fact that Grandma was a hoarder, too, and my nine-year-old self felt like she’d hit the mother lode. I lost hours to reading, curled up under a cloth-covered table in the living room with a flashlight or behind the shed if we got kicked outside to play or – blessedly – in my room while my two sisters were elsewhere so they wouldn’t tattle on me. Harlequin happy endings were my crack.

So when Dreamspinner announced their first venture into the same type of trope-y stories a couple years ago, my inner nine-year-old clapped with glee. There might even have been some clapping from my outer self, too. It couldn’t get any better, I thought.

I was wrong. They announced Dreamspun Beyond. My beloved tropes in paranormal worlds. There was absolutely no way I could let the opportunity slip by to write for it.

Out of all the romance I read and write, paranormal is my hands-down favorite. The draw is easy. I’m immersed in a brand-new world with characters who are subject to supernatural forces and still find ways to overcome them. You might ask, how is that different from fantasy or sci-fi? Paranormals, while offering new world rules, are most often grounded in a setting that’s at least initially set in our own existence. So it’s new, but still familiar. For me, that’s the perfect balance.

That’s the approach I took for The Charlatan’s Conquest. In this setting, ghosts exist, and it’s possible to interact with them, but it’s set in contemporary Pennsylvania and New York with very real issues surrounding both heroes. Cruz agrees to take on a ghost hunting job that his best friend can’t because he needs the money to help pay for his baby sister’s medical expenses. He’s a reflection of his working-class family. He throws everything he has into getting past hardships like the financial ramifications from treating his sister’s cancer. On the other hand, Brody has had his own share of troubles. His mother’s death when he was a child. Struggling with his identity in an affluent, conservative community. A distant relationship with his father. All of these and more mold the men who meet under such extraordinary circumstances. They face the incredible, but in a world with which the reader can empathize. That’s my idea of reading nirvana.

The best part about it is that this is the first of a series called “Phantom Fixers.” I get to go back to this world, which is a very good thing because Etienne, Cruz’s ghost hunter best friend, won’t stop nagging me about his own happy ending. For now, though, I’m going to sit back and enjoy Cruz and Brody’s story. I hope you will, too.

Check out The Charlatan’s Conquest today!



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With love and ghosts, the challenge is figuring out what’s real.

Software engineer Cruz Guthrie needs money for his sister’s cancer treatments. He needs it so badly he’s willing to stand in for a ghost hunter friend and investigate a millionaire’s supposed specters. It should be an easy gig—after all, nobody thinks the haunting is real.

Neurological researcher Brody Weber is furious that Cruz would take advantage of Brody’s father. But his mind changes when spirits manifest—and he realizes Cruz genuinely wants to help. When they learn the paranormal activity centers on Brody, Cruz is willing to fight to free Brody from the entities determined to make his life miserable. With a little help from friends and family—both living and dead—they must figure out why Brody is attracting spirits and how to banish them. Only then can they pursue a future together.



VIVIEN DEAN is a firm believer that love doesn’t care about gender. That’s why her titles encompass both GLBT and het, erotic and sweet, as well as a wide variety of genres. After growing up in the snowy and isolated Midwest, she went off in search of her creative muse. She performed on stage, wrote and directed indie films in Orlando, then met her British soulmate online. One wedding, two children, and ten addresses later, she resides in the Bay Area where it’s easy to indulge in her favorite pastimes—good theater, great movies, and amazing food.

Vivien is a four-time EPIC eBook Award winner and collaborated with Pepper Espinoza to write as Jamie Craig for five years.


Twitter: @VivienDean

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