When Abby Harris takes her faithful German shepherd out for a hike in Oregon’s beautiful mountains, getting abducted by aliens isn’t even a blip on her radar. Her trusty can of bear spray and the pocket knife isn’t much help against the seven-foot monsters who swoop in out of nowhere to transport her to a ship in space.
Nicolai Nekbet is Crown Prince for the House of Nekbet on the planet Raiden. Unable to bear healthy children with females of their own species, Raiden warriors must hunt for a bride outside their own world. Nicolai has his heart set on a human even though their planet is protected by an ancient species called Laizahlian. When he sees the tall blonde-haired beauty out in the mountains with only a dog by her side, he knows he must have her.
With Abby safely on his ship, Nicolai injects her with his shaprata, his essence. His shaprata will change her on a cellular level, making them compatible for procreation, but he must still work hard to win her heart. If she rejects their union, it could easily mean his death.
Karen’s Magic Review
I’ve never been a science fiction or fantasy fan but do like romance in a story. As long it’s not the main subject and has another exiting element, I’m happy.
I was certainly happy with Claimed by Nicolai. It blew my mind! This was the sort of story you would expect to read from one of the big novelists, like Nora Roberts. I can honestly say it was my best read of the year so far.
Denna Holm’s tale is epic as we visit many worlds throughout the universe. I always thought science fiction stories were complicated, and aliens don’t live like we do. They do, they eat, sleep, read, dress, and love. They may look different, but they have feelings and emotions, too. The Raiden Warriors were extremely handsome men, and that’s a good start to any story!
Abby was snatched from earth and her disbelief at finding herself in a space ship was the reaction I would have had. Her slow burn relationship with Nicolai was interesting to watch develop, too. She was very angry at first, who wouldn’t be! We, as the reader, were privileged to his thoughts, so we already knew he was a good guy.
Once I had finished the book, I immediately had withdrawal symptoms, so I downloaded the latest one, Claimed by Rafa, on Kindle Unlimited. Rafa was Nicolai’s right hand man. I hoped I knew who is was going to claim, but won’t add any spoilers. You will guess, too when you read it. My review for that will follow soon.
One of my favourite characters in the book was Seraphym, a serpent a bit like dragon, who flew and breathed fire. He also took the form of a man when he landed. There was something special about him that appealed to me, and if Abby hadn’t have been claimed by Nicolai, I could have seen them together. I think she knew it too. He was fascinating and even though another species, attractive. Imagine my delight when I learned from the author that we would be seeing him again in the third book!
I particularly liked the descriptions. They were told in such a way that you could actually ‘see’ them.
Claimed by Nicolai was one of those stories you literally lose yourself in, and I can’t express how much I enjoyed doing just that.
Denna Holm is pretty remarkable writer, and I was able to ask her some questions about this story.
Hi Denna, I have just read Claimed by Nicolai, and fell in love with the book, it’s characters and its world. So, I am delighted to meet you. The first thing I would love to know is how you came up the idea for the story?
We love to hike and hunt for wild mushrooms up in the mountains of Oregon. We also have a black German shepherd. One day while we were hiking, we went off trail. I remember standing there, everything so quiet and peaceful. No people around, just us and the dogs. Then I started to wonder what it would feel like to be totally alone, helpless, and run across alien life. My imagination just went off the wall nuts and that is how Claimed by Nicolai came to life. It’s been one of my favorites to write.
What came first, the world building or the story?
The story came first. Part of the world building is connected to my other series Immortal Warriors. It is the same universe, but with different aliens. Different worlds and politics involved, but they have a common enemy. All my stories are built around the romance. These two characters are my starting point. Who are they? Where are they from? How do they come together? Do they have an instant attraction or does it slowly build? Most relationships take time, so I try to shy away from insta-love. What are they willing to give up for their love interest? How far are they willing to go, sacrifice, to save them? These are all questions I ask myself at the start of every novel, then I start building the world around them.
Star Trek was mentioned several times, are you a fan? Did you have that in mind when you created the space ships and aliens?
I’m a big time Star Trek fan. I have been since I was a little girl. I imagine the show played some part in the development of my worlds and aliens. It helped set my own imagination free. 😊
The descriptions of both aliens, planets, and the ships is really good and easy for the reader to build up a picture. How did you build your world in preparation for writing the book?
I am what you would call a “seat of the pants” writer. I often don’t know exactly what someone or something is going to look like until I’m writing the scene. It plays out in my mind like a movie. All I need to do is study it and figure out what I think the reader will be interested in and try to describe it. Sometimes the end result will be different from what I see in the rough draft. Each time I edit a story, I go through the same routine, playing out the scene in my mind, but sometimes my mind will decide it likes it better a different way.
Were any of the characters based on someone you know or someone you had seen on film or television, or did they completely come out of your head?
Most of my characters begin based on someone I know. However, they usually start developing personalities of their own by the time I get further into the story. Like with description of a planet, aliens or ship, a character’s personality will take me in a direction I hadn’t originally planned on. With Abby, I tried to imagine how a young girl just starting college would react getting abducted by an alien. Her reaction would be different from someone who was more mature. Abby’s character has a lot of my daughter in her, a little mouthy, a little feisty, but also with a huge heart.
I could imagine this being a film. Who would play Nicolai and Abby?
As much as I hate to admit it, I don’t spend a lot of time watching television or the movies. I’ve lost track of who is who in the acting world, at least with the younger crowd. I would absolutely love to hear who readers would like to play the parts of Nicolai and Abby. 😊
Are any of the aliens used in your other books, not connected to the Claimed series?
Immortal Warriors and Raiden Warriors are interconnected. I plan at some future point to bring both series to a finale together. I will have a cyborg romance coming out soon Silvano’s Redemption in Cyborg Reborn series. This will be set in a completely new universe. Completely new aliens involved. I have demons in House of Pain (The Forsaken Ones). They are not the fallen angels we think of as demons, but aliens from another dimension who would like to take control of a post-apocalyptic Earth.
How long did it take from the concept right through to writing the end?
The writing of the rough draft of Claimed by Nicolai went fairly fast. It was one of those books that basically wrote itself. I believe it took me less than a month from start to finish. The polishing phase takes much longer. I always put away my rough drafts for about six months while I work on something new. When I pull it out for rewrites, it’s easy to see plot holes or areas that might need to be developed out. The first rewrite always takes a bit of time, usually a month or more. Then it goes back on the shelf for another couple months. I’ll do this until I can’t find much to fix. Then it goes to beta readers. From start of rough draft to finished story takes a little more than a year. I spend the same amount of time on each and every story. I want the reader to enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed creating it, and this takes time, patience, and an attention to detail.
Does your family read your books or are you known in your area as being a writer?
My family are my biggest fans. Most of those in my family are big readers. They weren’t sure what to think when I handed them my first manuscript of Soul of a Warrior. I’m sure they were wondering how an old horse trainer could possibly write a decent novel. My sister was the first to read it. It was just a working copy we’d printed out on paper. I remember she came back to me, shaking those papers, and saying we couldn’t let anyone get their hands on it before we got it published. She was afraid someone would steal it out from under us. Lol The rest of my family read it after that, and I gained my first fans. It warms the heart to know people actually enjoy what I write, even my own family—who also tend to be my biggest critics.
Once I had read Nicolai, I had to go straight on to read Claimed by Raffa. I loved this one too, and have to ask if there is going to be a third and would it involve Sam?
Oh yes. I’m working on the polishing phase of Claimed by Seraphym now. It is Samantha and Seraphym’s story. We met Seraphym in Claimed by Nicolai, and he is one of my favorites. Of course, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for shifters of all kinds, but especially dragons. Hopefully Crimson Cloak Publishing will release Claimed by Seraphym within the next six to eight months.
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