Interview with Cate Masters (Cursed)

Thank you for joining me in the shadows. Pay no attention to that odd silhouette over there. Weird things live here.  Where do you hail from?
Hello! Lol, no worries. I’m used to weird things haunting central Pennsylvania, where I now live. Not far from Gettysburg, actually, where Shadow People, monkey men, demons and ghosties are part of the local history and legend. I originally hail from the wilds of central New Jersey. No, that’s not a contradiction in terms. 🙂 As a kid, nothing but deep, beautiful forest surrounded my house, and I spent my days exploring them with my dog Tippy. Those woods nurtured and fed my imagination. Plus I found all sorts of creepy crawlies to bring home and scare my mom with, lol.
Tell me about your latest book. What makes it stand out from the crowd?
Aside from the striking cover? 🙂 Lots of things, actually — the hero’s a little different than in other paranormals, a hot alpha male with an interesting and cruel history. The heroine’s a geeky scientist girl who lets out her wild side with her firedancing. And the setting’s a little different, too — Carnevale, the ten-day festival in Venice. Though Cursed is mainly a paranormal, it also has some historical and science elements. And magic. 🙂
Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
Always, lol. I’m in final edits for Charmed, the followup to Cursed, and have subbed Claimed, the last (for now) of the Vitruvian Man series. Decadent will also release three more 1NS stories, and is nearly ready to release a historical, Betting It All, set during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. About a dozen WIPs are calling my name, but I’m focusing on two — the third book in The Goddess Connection series, in which the heroine will learn she’s related to a goddess, and that the quirks she’s seen as faults all her life now come in pretty handy. 🙂 The other’s a contemporary novella set in a very cool little arts town in western Texas. The hero and heroine in that one really set sparks flying!
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Find some local writer’s groups and hang out there. No one else understands an author like another author, lol.
How did you deal with rejection letters? Any tips for unpublished writers?
Those can be tough, especially when you’re just starting out. But the best thing any writer can do, when you’re ready to revise, is detach emotionally from the work and be merciless in cutting any part of the story that doesn’t reveal character or move the storyline forward. And pay attention to those “good” rejections that suggest you revise and resubmit! Likewise, if any other rejections contain suggestions, consider it a gift — most rejections are form letters, but if you receive one with specific points, the editor saw something in your work. Keep working on it.
What tools of the trade are must-haves for you? 
My desktop’s my business computer, with Photoshop, MovieMaker, and the Internet. My laptop is strictly for writing, no Internet access. Once I’ve researched and found the information I need, and copied it into Word documents for reference, all I need then is quiet and some hot tea. And my muse!
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to research a story?
I love research! I spend too much money on books (which my hubby would think is crazy, lol). I can’t think of anything much besides going on a Gettysburg ghost tour and then sending for information on how to become a ghost tour guide, which I used in my ghost story, In The Midnight Hour. I did have kind of a strange experience when we visited Key West and took a tour of a wreckers’ museum – a story flashed through my head like a movie in the middle of the museum. Normally, stories will play through my head like movies while I’m writing, but it never happened like that, before or since. It took a few years, but eventually, I did write the historical Angels, Sinners and Madmen, set in 1850s Key West.
What do you like to read?
Anything and everything! Genre’s not that important to me. Just give me a compelling story with great characters I can root for, and I’m set. Which is probably why I like to, ahem, disregard genre in my books — Cursed is a perfect example, with such varied elements. But it works! 🙂
Who is your favorite author and why? 
Too many to list. I could gush about so many! Currently, I’m a fangirl of J.R. Ward and Kelley Armstrong, but I love discovering new authors all the time.
Now for the fun questions.  Let’s strip away the veil of invisibility. Do you have a day job alongside writing and will you tell us about it?
I put in long days with lots of work, but receive no pay other than hugs and kisses, lol. I take care of my grandboys during the day. My job titles have ranged from university secretary to research assistant for an environmental foundation to deputy press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of State. Nothing compares to writing, though. I love it! It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do.
If you weren’t a writer, what career might you have chosen?
A journalist, possibly a photojournalist or photographer. Some other way to tell stories.
Who is your favorite superhero (or heroine)? Can be from a comic book, movie, novel, cartoon, video game or anywhere else heroes reign.
I’ve always thought Wonder Woman was pretty cool. Some movie producer should do a remake.
Your favorite book hero?
I am absolutely terrible at favorites. They’re constantly changing. One really strong book hero comes to mind, though – Odd Thomas. He’s an ordinary guy with extraordinary gifts who does the right thing every time even though he knows it’s going to be painful for him, and probably get him in trouble. I can’t wait for this movie to release!
You finally have an evening free to spend any way you want. Money is no object. Where do you go? What would you do?
Oh, so tempting! Hm, only one evening, eh? A night on the town in New York City would be wonderful – a play and dinner with my hubby. 🙂 (Since watching the Tony Awards, I have Broadway fever, lol)
You’ve been gifted (or cursed) with the ability to shift into another form by a witch. What kind of shifter are you? Why?
Oh, fun! Yes, I’d love to be a shifter, but do I have to pick just one? Lol. Okay, I’ll go with raven. How cool would it be to fly? And ravens have very interesting legends associated with them. And one of my characters in the next Vitruvian Man story is a raven shifter. Stay tuned…
Thanks so much for being my guest today! Anything else you’d like to share with my readers?  Don’t forget to give us links to your website etc.
Thanks so much for having me! It’s been such fun. I recently started a newsletter, and plan to include exclusive goodies for subscribers, so I encourage everyone to sign up! And I love to connect with readers and other writers.
Catch up to me here:
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Cate Masters
Blurb:  Bruno diCesare lives alone by necessity, not choice. An experiment performed by Leonardo da Vinci, who believed having a dual DNA would grant a person immortality, used magic to render Bruno a chimera – the head of a lion, body of a dragon. The only time he can mingle with people is during Carnevale, ten glorious days of masked anonymity, frivolity and intimacy.

Melina Weaver learned fire dancing to enliven her dull existence. A scientist, her long hours at the lab leave no time for a social life. For ten days at Carnevale, she can pretend to be someone else. Someone sexy and daring, who lives on the edge.
Once she meets Bruno, her wish comes true, but everything goes terribly wrong. Beneath Bruno’s costume lurks an alpha male, but is he dangerous? Worse, can she return to an employer who sells her research to the military to make an army of efficient killers? Her only hope may lie with the man she’s just met and never seen.
Light danced in his dark eyes. “I must admit, your fire dancing fascinated me. What made you choose such a dangerous skill to master?”
“The thrill of the challenge, I suppose.” It balanced the rest of her mundane life, to a degree. Mastering each new level gave her a sense of achievement, where work couldn’t.
Something flashed through his dark eyes. “Mistakes must be very painful.”
“I practiced a long time before I worked up the nerve to actually light the wands. I found the fire great incentive to focus, however.” God, her grin must be goofy, the way he stared. Such gorgeous eyes, such a deep brown they almost appeared black. He probably had rugged features, if his large hands provided any indication. Too bad he wore gloves, another barrier between them.
“Yes,” he said, “I imagine so.”
“What about you? What other magic do you know?” Oh please, can you get any more ridiculous? It sounded like a line from a bad chick flick.
The crinkle around his eyes was the only evidence of his smile, but enough to charm her.
“Lifetimes of studying the dark arts have provided me with many tricks.”
“Lifetimes?” she blurted.
He stiffened in her arms. “Pardon?”
She watched him carefully. “You said ‘lifetimes’. Plural.” And what the hell did he mean by ‘dark arts’?
Rigidity masked the grace of his movements. “I’m sure you’re mistaken.” He stared over her head as they whirled to the song’s rhythm.
Mistaken my ass. How very strange. More strange that the question upset him. He’d clammed up, and his muscles were so tense, she expected him to bolt. Better to drop it. For now. “Must have been a slip of the tongue.”
“Yes.” Relief sounded in his tone, though guarded.
This man had something to hide. How intriguing.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at, and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.
Cate loves to hear from readers. Email her at:
Cate Masters  – Magic, mayhem and a little romance