Moning, Karen Marie 1964-

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Moning, Karen Marie 1964-

PERSONAL:

Born November 1, 1964, in Cincinnati, OH; married, 2005; husband's name Neil. Education: Purdue University, B.A. Hobbies and other interests: Her cat Moonshadow, "being outdoors, Scotland, a cloudless starry night, RBL Romantica, mangoes, the ocean, reading, writing."

ADDRESSES:

Office—KMM, P.O. Box 190221, Atlanta, GA 31119-0221. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, c. 1999—. Formerly worked as a bartender, a computer consultant, and an insurance specialist.

AWARDS, HONORS:

RITA nominations, Romantic Times Online Reviewer's Choice Award, and Waldenbooks best-selling debut romance author citation, all 1999, all for Beyond the Highland Mist; RITA Award, 2001, for The Highlander's Touch; Publishers Weekly best mass market novel list citation, 2002, for Kiss of the Highlander; Romance Writers of America Top Ten Favorite Books of the year citation for The Dark Highlander.

WRITINGS:

"HIGHLANDER" SERIES; ROMANCE NOVELS

Beyond the Highland Mist, Dell (New York, NY), 1999.

To Tame a Highland Warrior, Dell (New York, NY), 1999.

The Highlander's Touch, Dell (New York, NY), 2000.

Kiss of the Highlander, Dell (New York, NY), 2001.

The Dark Highlander, Dell (New York, NY), 2002.

The Immortal Highlander, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Spell of the Highlander, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2005.

"FEVER" SERIES; ROMANCE NOVELS

Darkfever, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Bloodfever, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2007.

Faefever, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2008.

OTHER

(Contributor) Tapestry (anthology), Jove Books (New York, NY), 2002.

Into the Dreaming, Jove Books (New York, NY), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

Author Karen Marie Moning captured attention in 1999 with her debut of the "Highlander" series of romance novels, Beyond the Highland Mist. The story introduced readers to a variety of Celtic heroes, ranging from the MacKeltars, a clan of disturbed, magically influenced Scottish lairds, to Gavrael McIllioch, a former berserker cursed with uncontrollable power, to Sidheach James Lyon Douglas, Laird of Dalkeith-upon-the-Sea. In the blockbuster best-selling series of novels, Moning traces the sexually charged interactions of the brutally sexual MacKeltar males with strong, independent female characters. The men are ungodly handsome and possess almost unearthly sexual prowess, while the women are spunky and free-spirited. Often the stories incorporate an element of time-travel fantasy, with the men located anywhere from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries and the women they love stuck in the twentieth or twenty-first. Moning's books in the "Highlander" series and in her dark fantasy "Fever" series have regularly reached the USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and New York Times best-seller lists.

In Beyond the Highland Mist, Moning tells the story of James Lyon Douglas, who on his way home from military service is struck by a curse: he is doomed to fall in love with a woman who can't stand good-looking men. The woman in this case is Adrienne de Simon, a twentieth-century resident of Seattle, who falls through time into the hands of the laird that wants Douglas (nicknamed "Hawk") to marry his daughter. Unfortunately, his daughter has recently died, and he sets Adrienne up to marry Hawk in her place. Although Hawk falls passionately in love with Adrienne, he has a rival for her attention in the guise of Adam, the blacksmith (actually the Fool of the king of Faerie). The king has charged Adam with ruining Hawk's relationship with Adrienne in retaliation for the Faerie Queen's comments on his sexual prowess. "Where Beyond the Highland Mist … distinguish[es] itself is in its rather forbidding depictions of Faerie," wrote Ann McGuire on the Romance Reader Web site, "This is not a place you'd picture Tinkerbell. The inhabitants as a whole seem rather cantankerous. But they are vivid, as are most of the characters author Karen Moning has seen fit to drop into the mix." "This highly original time-travel combines the wonders of the paranormal and the mischievous world of the fairies," declared Kathe Robin on the Romantic Times Online, "to create a splendid, sensual, hard-to-put-down romance."

To Tame a Highland Warrior is the story of Gavrael McIllioch, berserker and refugee from the clan that has sworn revenge on him. He desperately seeks the love of Jillian St. Clair, the woman to whom he was affianced before he had to go into hiding. Now, a summons from Jillian's father has brought the two together. "Ms. Moning is truly a rising star of the romance genre. She weaves an intriguing tale," wrote Kelley Hartsell on the Best Reviews Web site. "Jillian and Grimm are enthralling and the passion between the two literally rocks their world."

Circenn, ruler of Castle Brodie, is the magic-wielding featured male in The Highlander's Touch. He "places a curse on one of the sacred icons of the clan he has sworn to protect, just before it is lost during an ambush," wrote Leena Hyat on the Best Reviews Web site. "His curse makes sure the flask will be returned immediately to him the minute it is touched by human hands." Those "human hands" happen to belong to Lisa Stone, a part-time cleaning woman at a twenty-first-century museum—and she finds herself magically transported back in time to face the angry laird of Castle Brodie. Soon, however, Circenn finds himself falling in love with the outspoken woman he has vowed to kill. "Unique and eloquent, filled with thought provoking and emotional elements," wrote Kathe Robin on Romantic Times Online. "The Highlander's Touch is a very special book."

Kiss of the Highlander works the time-travel motif in the opposite direction. Laird Drustan MacKeltar has been caught in ensorcelled slumber for centuries until he is awakened in the twenty-first century by physicist Gwen Cassidy, a hiker who has fallen into the cavern where he lies. His first thought is to return to the past to save his family. His second thought is for the intriguing woman who has awakened him—and who has inadvertently accompanied him back to his own era. "Drustan," Janice Bennett stated on the Best Reviews Web site, "is everything a hero should be, strong and intelligent with deep feelings for his heroine. Gwen is brilliant but vulnerable. The sex scenes are warm, tender and titillating." "The story line is loaded with twists and turns, cleverly handles the time paradox issue," Harriet Klausner wrote on the same Web site, "and still provides a strong romance." The novel, Desmond Chan concluded on the Best Reviews Web site, "breathes life and emotions to the oft-confusing genre with focused narration, enlightening ideals and bouncy fun."

The Dark Highlander is usually regarded as a sequel to Kiss of the Highlander, because it picks up the story of Drustan's twin brother, Dageus, who was cursed following his attempt to bring Drustan back to his own time. Now, thirteen evil spirits threaten to take over his soul. Enter Chloe Zanders, antiquity specialist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who discovers Dageus's dark secret. She is drawn back with him to visit Drustan in medieval Scotland, and becomes bound to help him avoid his fate. "This sequel," Harriet Klausner concluded on the Best Reviews Web site, "is a great romantic fantasy that should provide Karen Marie Moning with a loyal cross genre audience awaiting her next book."

In The Immortal Highlander, Moning takes up the story of Adam Black, a member of the Fae race of the Tuatha De Danaan. As punishment for his fascination and interference with mortals, however, the queen of the Tuatha De Danaan has stripped him of his immortality and exiled him among humans who can neither see nor hear him—except, that is, for Gabrielle O'Callaghan, who has been blessed with the ability to see both the human world and the world of the Fae at the same time. Together Adam and Gabrielle go on a quest to restore his immortality and to end a threat that may destroy both the human and Fae worlds. "As with Ms. Moning's other novels, this one has it all—romance, magic, time travel, extraordinary characters, great plot, writing that flows, and most important, an original theme and storyline," declared Jana L. Perskie on the Mostly Fiction Web site. "It just doesn't get better than this!"

Spell of the Highlander harks back to the MacKeltar family. It introduces the ninth-century druid Laird Cian MacKeltar, the most powerful member of his family. "He is heir to the arcane magic of the Old Ones," Jana L. Perskie explained on the Mostly Fiction Web site, "but has been imprisoned for eleven centuries in The Dark Glass, one of the four coveted Unseelie Hallows, objects of seemingly boundless powers. The Dark Glass has been stolen, along with other priceless antiquities, due to the intervention of Aoibheal, Queen of the Fae, (the Tuatha De Danaan), who is determined to destroy the dark Druid sect of the Draghar." Freed by archaeology student Jessica St. James, Cian launches a campaign to enact his revenge against the sorcerer who imprisoned him. "The author," wrote Tracy Benninger on the Fresh Fiction Web site, "treats the reader to an erotic romp through the modern day world as Cian and Jessi try to avoid detection by the dark sorcerer and his minions using Cian's Druid skills." "Clear your calendar," concluded Jill M. Smith on the Romantic Times Online, "because you are going to want plenty of time to savor Moning's newest tale of dark magic and sizzling romance."

Moning's "Fever" series delves into the mysterious and dangerous world of the Sidhe. The novels center on a single protagonist, MacKayla Lane, a free spirit who gets a mission in life after her sister is murdered while doing research in Dublin, Ireland. Darkfever drops Mac into a world she had not even imagined existed—a world populated by characters like "a mysterious book store owner and dabbler in darkness named Jericho Barrons, Malluce the self-styled vampire lord, a murderous boxer turned kingpin of crime, and several varieties of Fey," explained Nathan Brazil on the SF Site online. Bloodfever continues Mac's quest to understand her powers and to fight against the evil of the Sidhe. "Moning has a firm grasp on her world," wrote Sue Burke on the Fresh Fiction Web site, "and this is only the second book. She seems to know exactly where she's going with the story, which is good news for readers. Bold characters, strong protagonists and the ‘B’ list hold their own."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 2004, Nina C. Davis, review of The Immortal Highlander, p. 1910; October 15, 2006, Nina C. Davis, review of Darkfever, p. 35; September 15, 2007, Nina C. Davis, review of Bloodfever, p. 42.

Books, February 4, 2007, John Charles, review of Darkfever, p. 9.

Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2004, review of The Immortal Highlander, p. 554.

Library Journal, November 15, 2000, Kristin Ramsdell, review of The Highlander's Touch, p. 57; May 15, 2004, Kristin Ramsdell, review of The Immortal Highlander, p. 71.

Publishers Weekly, February 1, 1999, review of Beyond the Highland Mist, p. 82; August 27, 2001, review of Kiss of the Highlander, p. 62; November 19, 2001, review of Kiss of the Highlander, p. 38; September 9, 2002, review of The Dark Highlander, p. 48; September 25, 2006, review of Darkfever, p. 43; August 27, 2007, review of Bloodfever, p. 62.

ONLINE

Best Reviews,http://thebestreviews.com/ (May 8, 2008), Harriet Klausner, reviews of Kiss of the Highlander, Tapestry, The Dark Highlander, The Immortal Highlander, Spell of the Highlander, and Darkfever; Cynthia Meidinger, reviews of Tapestry and The Dark Highlander; Sheri Melnick, review of The Dark Highlander; Emily Anne, review of The Dark Highlander; Janice Bennett, review of Kiss of the Highlander; Desmond Chan, review of Kiss of the Highlander; Leena Hyat, review of The Highlander's Touch; Kelley Hartsell, review of To Tame a Highland Warrior; and author profile.

Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (May 8, 2008), Jennifer McCord, review of The Immortal Highlander.

Curled Up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (May 8, 2008), Helen Hancox, reviews of Darkfever and Bloodfever.

Fresh Fiction,http://freshfiction.com/ (May 8, 2008), Tracy Benninger, review of Spell of the Highlander; Sue Burke, reviews of Spell of the Highlander, Darkfever, and Bloodfever.

Karen Marie Moning Home Page,http://www.karenmoning.com (May 8, 2008), author profile.

Karen Marie Moning MySpace Profile,http://www.myspace.com/karenmoning (May 8, 2008), author profile.

Mostly Fiction,http://www.mostlyfiction.com/ (May 8, 2008), Jana L. Perskie, reviews of The Immortal Highlander and Spell of the Highlander.

Romance Reader,http://www.theromancereader.com/ (May 8, 2008), Jillian Flavell, review of To Tame a Highland Warrior; Ann McGuire, review of Beyond the Highland Mist; Nancy J. Silberstein, review of The Highlander's Touch and Kiss of the Highlander.

Romantic Times Online,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (May 8, 2008), Kathe Robin, reviews of To Tame a Highland Warrior, The Highlander's Touch, Kiss of the Highlander, and Beyond the Highland Mist; Jill M. Smith, reviews of The Immortal Highlander, Spell of the Highlander, Darkfever, and Bloodfever.

SF Site,http://www.sfsite.com/ (May 8, 2008), Nathan Brazil, review of Darkfever.