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BIG NEWS

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Happy Birthday to Me!

That’s not my big news- but it is my birthday. My big news is BIG, lots of moving parts! This post is just like an awesome birthday present to me!

Part One:
I am super excited to announce I’ve become part of the Griffyn Ink family! I’ve featured interviews here with several of their authors (Savannah Kade, D.B. Sieders, and Victoria Raschke) and now I’m one of them!

Super happy dance!

via GIPHY

Part Two:
Cover Reveal!!!
Did you see it yet?

Twelve Strippers of Christmas coming October 2017

Isn’t it awesome? It’s awesome! I’m excited!

http://lmsylvian.com/the-twelve-strip…mas-cover-reveal/

Part Three:
The Twelve Strippers of Christmas has a release date!
October 26th, it will be available in paperback and as ebook.
Pre-sale information coming soon!

It’s really happening guys! So freaking excited!

Part Four:
I’m excited to announce I will be one of the participating authors in November’s holiday release of St. Helena Vinyard Kindle World.
I will share more details as we get closer to the big event and roll out.

Each one of these announcements has me hand flapping happy!

via GIPHY

The Twelve Strippers of Christmas- Cover reveal

Twelve Strippers of Christmas coming October 2017

The Twelve Strippers of Christmas is a collection of short stories all around the theme of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

With a twist

and a thrust

and some break away snaps.

Available in paperback and ebook October 26, 2017. Presale info coming soon.

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Teaser Tuesday-The Twelve Strippers of Christmas

Whoo hoo, Christmas in July! Well, not really. But I am listening to a lot of Christmas music as I finalize this collection of short stories.

Here’s an excerpt from Les Poules Françaises

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“Dancing Queen.” Nick purred as Katie approach the front of the club. He leaned in and kissed her on the cheek.

She placed a hand over his kiss and blushed slightly. It was cute.

He glanced behind her checking to confirm she had not been followed by the grabby Gwinney.

“Just you?” He asked.

“I told you it would just be me. Disappointed?” Her smile lit up her face. Her eyes looked bigger and brighter with sparkling gold make-up. He wanted to poke his fingers through the loops in her hair style.

“Thrilled it’s just you. That Gwinney is like some excitable puppy who doesn’t understand the commands sit, stay, leave me the f*k alone.” Nick paid for their entrance into the club.

“She thinks you’re hot.” Katie explained as she followed Nick further inside.

“Of course she does. I am hot, and I work damn hard to make sure people know it.” Nick stroked his hand in the air down the front of his body, displaying the artistry that went into tonight’s outfit.

His hair had been shaved on the sides and piled high in the middle. Braids with beads and peacock feathers lined the side of his mohawk and draped down his back with the longer lengths of blue and black hair. His make-up was all in shades of black and silver. He wore a cropped leather biker jacket with a tight peacock print t-shirt. Everything else was black leather and silver studs.

“Modest much?” Katie laughed. She shoved her gloves into her coat pocket and passed it to the coat check girl.

“Oh, you should talk, Miss Victory Curls and swishy skirt. I don’t see you here in scrubs and nursing shoes. Why should women have all the fun in dressing up and looking good?”

“Point taken.” Katie agreed. “But it lures in hapless victims like Gwinney. And it confuses her. She sees the pretty, she wants the pretty, she doesn’t understand why the pretty doesn’t want her back.”

“Are you calling me pretty?” Nick looked down his nose at her.

Katie shook her head and bit her lower lip. He needed to get her on the dance floor before he pushed her against the back wall and messed up the makeup they both wore.

 

 

Kolin Mofield, author in the making

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I like to set the mood for these interviews. So where are we? A coffee shop or a reading corner in an indie bookseller? And are you drinking coffee, tea, or some other concoction?

(I like the way you start it, set’s a tone).

We are enjoying NY style greasy pepperoni pizza for lunch at a small bookseller overlooking the Cumberland River. It’s a beautiful summer day with thunder off in the distance. (great, now I really want pizza)

At what point did you know you wanted to be an author?

I admire those people who state that they have always known they would be a writer/author and started writing beautiful prose in elementary school. My path has been far different. I was always a little different and knew that; not exactly a loner, but outside the norm. I would have imaginary stories develop at the oddest times, swimming in a pool I would find Aqua Man or alone at a social event/family event, I was slaying a dragon or finding a wild stallion meant for me, that only I could tame. I was often in my in my own little world, oblivious to my surroundings. I don’t know if it was an escape or just over-active imagination, but I didn’t realize it was the beginning of my “calling”. Fast-forward to the mid-1980s. I was divorced with two young boys, working two jobs and shopping in my parent’s pantry. I hated to be alone; I had not yet learned to like myself and those were the hardest times. My boys would have every other weekend with their father who I still refer to as Shit-Head and you can only clean the dingy apartment so many times. One of those weekends, I picked up a legal pad, you know, one of the 11 x 14 yellow pads and began writing. My first try was a historical romance entitled Whispering Cedars and filled ten legal pads and I haven’t stopped writing since.

What currently compels you to write?

Characters constantly stalking me wanting their story to be told. It is quite loud and busy in my head.

Tell us a little about what you write?

I have evolved into what I like to call thrilling mystery/suspense. Not quite a thriller, but more than suspense and mystery. Elements of romance dot the pages throughout their story, I mean, what is a story without love, it is part of the human contingent, if you ask me. Anyway, my primary character typically is an everyday person working an everyday job who is thrown into an extraordinary situation. Through their journey, we find out if they have what it takes deep within to survive. I, like the reader, never really know until the end of the story.

I began writing Historical Romance. My grandmother read every terrible manuscript I wrote (God, love her and rest her soul), said that my writing was very strong when I killed someone or the scene was dark, that I should look at murder mysteries. I have been working on them since that time. I believe she was correct and I have found my voice.

Authors are told to write what they know. How closely do you adhere to that philosophy? Tells us a bit about what you do know and how (if it does) does that leak into your work.

As to writing philosophies, I really don’t have any. Well, I take that back, I do believe that you should write the story of your heart, every time. Never, ever, write for the market. Now, there are those who have success that way and perhaps that is why I have yet to see a publisher’s contract. Shrug, who knows?

What I know for sure is that from my many, many professional positions, that experience leaks into storylines one way or another. My experience is so varied because by the time I realized what I wanted to be when I grew up, I had changed jobs so many times, I learned several skill sets which worked quite well for the author in me.

The closest to contentment in my day job was as a police officer and worked with my small town as a reserve for four years. Had I found this earlier in my life, I would have been happier in my “day job” and worked as a cop full time. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

I did have ride alongs with Metro police and it was invigorating. Seeing the dark, nitty-gritty streets of Nashville certainly has its benefits with ideas, new storylines, etc. Moreover, being able to experience the brotherhood of cops is the most moving for me as an author. Being affiliated with them has been one of the greatest honors of my life.

What are you currently working on?

I refer to my novels by the heroine’s first name. Typically, their name shortened to a nickname that could be misconstrued as a man. I am not sure how this came to be; but it has become part of my brand, if you will.

Anyway, Jess is completed and I am editing her story. She meets up with three friends from high school to rekindle their relationship before their reunion. Jess finds one friend dead in her hotel suite and one by one, her friends are found dead and she is forced to escape into the Smoky Mountains and then to the city streets of DC to find the killer.

Jo is half-way done and set in Colorado where she returns to her first love’s ranch as a housekeeper. She must clear her name after being set up and implicated in the murder of the Pennsylvania governor.

Charlie is fleshed out; I do know that she is a Coroner’s Investigator and is working with the police on a string of drag queen murders.

Vic is the only female cop/detective in a good ‘ole boy southern town who discovers what is the first of many bodies left in the intricate cave system in Tennessee. She has been fun to work with in this scenario from my own small town experience to pull from; but also she has some compelling OCD issues that I didn’t know about until recently. This has been a challenge for me as her storyteller.

Scottie is a new character for me and we are getting to know each other right now. She kind of reminds of Rizzoli on Rizzoli and Isles drama.

What is your publishing dream?

I suppose the ultimate dream for me is to be walking somewhere like an airport or in a park and see someone reading my book. There is no greater compliment and that would be the time I knew I made it.

I’m fascinated with how different authors experience their characters. How do your characters come to you?

They yell at me, they appear from nowhere and want their story told. Jo, who I mentioned earlier, she yelled at me for years from the pew of a church for at least ten years until I finally began her story. She would turn and look back at me, raise her eyebrows and ask when was it her turn. They poke my imagination until I begin their story. It’s quite fun finding out what makes them tick.

I understand you are a big hockey fan. Do you play? Do you skate?

No, in hockey terms, I am a bender which means I don’t have strong ankles. I barely can skate and don’t play hockey, but love the game. My boys are the ones who drug me kicking and screaming away from little league baseball. However, after the first game, I have never looked back. It’s the best youth sport to watch; fast-paced, team oriented and competitive. Yes, I am a huge hockey fan and I am excited to say that as of this interview, my Nashville Predators have just won the Western Conference and are now waiting to see who they play in the Stanley Cup. This is so exciting for me, for our city and for the many youth hockey players who were told by others to “play a real sport.” As a goalie mom of two and one college hockey goalie in Grand Rapids, Michigan, it is a stressful job as a parent as they are either the hero or the bum. Tough, tough job, but my boys handle it well. I love the sport, the family of hockey fans/players/families. In a way, it is similar to that of the cops. It’s a brotherhood and I tend to be drawn to those who are loyal and beyond reproach. (Unfortunately, the Preds did not win the Stanley Cup, but man, they came close.)

So tell me about your experience trying to get farm fresh eggs. (cause this is funny)

Laughing. Wow. One of my best friends had chickens and they had to go to a hockey tournament for a week. I told her I would feed her chickens and get the eggs. How hard could it be? Well, let me tell you, it’s not easy for someone who grew up in the suburbs. Thankfully, my better half grew up on a farm and although having a good laugh at my expense. Did you know that chickens growl? Well, they do and they peck when you try and get the eggs. The chickens sit on the eggs and you have to steal them and it’s painful. I had no idea. Then, you find a rogue rooster wild eyes, it’s quiet terrifying when it chases you into a car. Oh yes, the bird from hell. Spouse filmed it and I am glad, outside of comedic viewing, I used what happened and allowed Jo experienced it as well and with many more chickens, of course, that I did that day. It wasn’t pretty.

If someone were to look into your browser history today, what would they think of you?

They would be very concerned and probably contact the FBI. (grin)

Action movies or rom-com?

Action movies with strong plots. Good horror flicks.

Saturday morning cartoons or monster movies?

Neither; coffee and meditation.

What’s the one question you always like when people ask authors?

As I have yet to be published, I have not yet really had questions asked. However, what I do get:

“I have a great story idea. We need to talk, you can write it and it will be a bestseller.”

or

“Where can I buy your book?”

“Well, I am not published yet, have been almost for years, but not yet.”

Insert pitiful look here

“Let me know if you need help with the sex scenes.”

Um, yea.

If someone asks me where I get my ideas from, I find that hard to answer. So many places, a news story, an investigative show, an article in a news paper. Many times, ideas just come to me as “what if…”. All I really know for sure is that my family is very thankful I have an outlet.

Here is my website:

They can find me at all the usual places, @Kolinmofield for Twitter; KolinMofield on Instagram and KolinMofield on Facebook.

Author Interview with Monica McCabe

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 Q: If we were having a real in-person conversation, where are we? Beach, bar, talk show, radio?

A: I’d have to combine two and say beach bar! We’d enjoy the warmth of the sun while sipping on a frozen daiquiri, listen to sea birds, and watch boats come and go in the harbor. Doesn’t get much better than that!

 

Q: Tell us about the Jewel intrigue series. Would you describe them as adventure with romantic element or romance with adventure?

A: Well, I’ve been accused of being plot heavy in the books. Like that’s a bad thing or something. *Snort* So I guess I’d have to go with adventure with romantic elements. I suppose there could be some truth to that statement though. I usually work through the plot first. The romance is second. Is that wrong of a romance writer to admit to?

 

Q: Of the three novels, which hero is your favorite?

A: Holy cow. That’s an impossible question. Each has elements that I’m drawn to, so I love them all. But…don’t tell anyone…I do have a favorite of my three books. It’s Phantom Pearl. Maybe because it’s the latest one, but it’s really more about the storyline – Yamashita’s Gold and a WWII mystery. I was fascinated by the research!

 

Q: Will there be more Jewel Intrigue books?

A: I hope so. My contract mentions an option for a fourth book, and I’m waiting on word from the publisher. If so, I have a secondary character in my first book…Jason Harvick. He had such a strong personality and kept trying to steal the scenes. Which shows, I guess, because I’ve had several demands to get busy writing his story.

 

Q: What else have you written?

A: I have a completed YA novel written in the same adventurous style. It’s set in the Amazon River basin in Brazil. But my first book ever was a historical. I love reading them, so naturally I thought it’s what I’d write. Nope. Turns out, it takes a special sort of voice and I honestly don’t have it. Critique partners kept asking me… Have you ever considered writing contemporary? I hadn’t. I eventually gave in though, and switched. That’s when I found my niche.

 

Q: What can we expect next?

A: I’ve got another adventure series in the planning stage. And I’m working on a mystery collaboration with my critique partner. And of course, book 4 in the Jewel Intrigue novels. Right now though, I’m trying to figure out this newsletter thing. Believe it or not, it’s more daunting to me than the prospect of writing another book!

 

Q: You are quite an adventurer, how much of your own exploits do you include in your writing?

A: Guilty. I’m constantly doing this. I think all writers draw inspiration from personal experience. You can’t help filtering book events through that lens and I believe it adds flavor to the writing. We can all look at the same thing and see it multiple ways. That’s a great thing!

 

Q: What has been the most harrowing experience you have encountered so far (facing down lions on safari? Seeing a real bear in the woods while hiking?)

A: I’m not sure. I’m an adventuress, but I do have limits. I don’t like heights, so climbing Mt. Everest isn’t in the cards. Neither is rock climbing. No way. But I’ve never shied away from exploring new places, learning to scuba dive, taking a hot-air balloon ride, or hiking the back country. I’ve been pretty close to Alaska’s brown bears while visiting Katmai National Park, but they weren’t interested in me, they had salmon on the brain. Haven’t yet been on a safari, but it’s on my short list. I can only hope to see lions!

 

Q: What has been the most exciting adventure you have been on?

A: Oh my word. That’s a tough one. I guess I’d have to go with climbing the ancient Mayan pyramid at Chichén Itzá, in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. We flew from Cancun on a small 10 seater prop plane and landed on a grassy runway carved out of the jungle. It was fantastic. We spent all day exploring the ruins, and topped it off by climbing to the top of the pyramid. Let me tell you, the energy up there is freaky strange, but the view is spectacular. The climb down was steep though, and pretty frightening for someone who doesn’t like heights. There were no guard rails or safety features, nothing but ancient crumbling rock, steep stairs, and a sign that said climb at your own risk. We did. And it was completely worth it.

 

Q: Where do your characters come from?

A: I start with a loose idea, a type of character, then focus on plot. Once the story begins to form, personalities begin to take shape too. Take book one in my series, Diamond Legacy. I knew my heroine was going to be a dental zoologist. I got the idea from a newspaper article regarding the Nashville zoo. Seems they had an orangutan that needed a root canal and they had to get on a wait list to fly in a vet specialist. WOWZERS! That intrigued me and Miranda Parrish was born. She’d be tops in her field, travel extensively, and have to go to Botswana where she’d stumble into diamond smuggling. I knew the hero would be an undercover agent in the dark world of conflict diamonds and gunrunners, he’d also be driven by a personal vendetta. That’s the way all my books start – shadowy idea of a character, while the plot takes center stage. Eventually, that flips.

 

Q: What was the last book you read?

A: Reading is a luxury anymore. It’s a time thing. But I do have a 45 minute commute to the day job, then 45 back home. So audio books are a Godsend. Last one I listened to was a Steve Berry book. He’s a favorite because his books are a twist of historical mystery and contemporary thriller. Before that it was a Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg novel. They co-write the Fox and O’Hare series. A female FBI agent and a dashing con artist. The books are irresistible!

 

Q: Do your books have soundtracks that helped to create them? Or what do you listen to when you write?

A: No soundtrack. Music is too distracting. I need quiet in order to concentrate. What I do though, is create a wall of pictures. I print out character images, setting locales, anything and everything that has import in the book. I tape them into a collage on the wall by my computer. For Phantom Pearl I had images of Dallas and Riki, pictures of Australia and Singapore, the crashed WWII plane, the treasure, and locations of all major events. It really helps me visualize the story.

 

Q: Cake or pie?

A: Pie. Specifically…Key Lime Pie. Food of the Gods.

 

Q: What’s on your pizza?

A: Funny you should ask. One of my first jobs was a waitress at Pizza Hut. It was a lot of years ago, but one summer they came out with this incredible Taco Pizza. During the rollout we had to wear a sombrero and shout out Ole! whenever someone ordered it. Totally goofy, but the pizza was da bomb. Can’t find anything like it today…but the memory lives on. Sigh…

 

Q: If you win big on the lottery would you buy a ticket on a Virgin Galactic?

A: Umm…no. I love to fly. Like, for realz. Big planes, little planes, sea planes, helicopters, hot air balloons, even parasailing – I’ve done them all. Skirting the atmosphere on a space flight? I can’t begin to tell you how much that freaks me out. Same with parachuting out of a perfectly good airplane. Never, never, never. Not gonna happen, no matter how rich I become.
(edit: someone who understands why would you jump out of a good plane?)

 

3covers

Diamond Legacy:
Africa-where diamonds are the currency of the weapons trade, and trust is the only option between two strangers…

Emerald Fire:
History didn’t always get it right. Sometimes the past is changed by a
two-hundred-year old journal written by a man history declared insane…

Phantom Pearl:
Vendettas and government secrets make a bad combination…

These are available from

Amazon

Kobo

Nook


 

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 7.36.15 PMAdventuring is in Monica McCabe’s blood. She’s addicted to travel, National Parks, & exploring new places and mysterious locales. She’s climbed glaciers and ancient Mayan pyramids, dived shipwrecks and reef caves, camped in Sasquatch country, and drove across the USA three times. When not traveling she’s writing romantic suspense and adventure, goofing off outdoors, or researching that next big trip.

Monica is currently working on the Jewel Intrigue Series for Kensington’s Lyrical Press.

You can find Monica McCabe at:

Monica McCabe – Author of the JEWEL INTRIGUE SERIES

https://www.facebook.com/authorMonicaMcCabe

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MonicaMcCabe

https://twitter.com/@monicamccabe/

Musings from the Bread Cafe

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Musings from the Bread Cafe -the first.

The guy in the corner ahead of me is gesticulating frantically. It is vitally important the person across from him get his point. There is one problem, the seat is empty. I can’t decide if he is practicing a conversation re-hashing a conversation or completely whacked.

The odds are fairly high, based on how he’s dressed, that the ear away from me has a blue tooth phone accessory in it. I just can’t see it. So to me, he looks a little bit crazy.

There is a rather obnoxious woman drowning out the book club I’d be more interested in eavesdropping in on. All I know is next week they’ll be back to discuss chapter two. They are behind me, so I can’t even sneak a peak at what book they are reading.

I don’t eavesdrop on purpose. After all I’m here to work, not to people watch.

I feel a little S.L.O.W. in that it took me so long to realize I could drop the kids at their weekly sporting practice and come and write. I used to take grading and crocheting to sports practice. Dragging the laptop around, not so easy: I can’t balance it on my knees and write while sitting on bleachers.

I’ve been coming to the Bread Cafe for just about six months now. I haven’t tracked word count yet, but I know I can write a good chunk while here. Mostly I track what types of scenes I’m writing. I have this theory, all writers working in public should either be killing someone, hiding a body in their word count, or writing smexy. Honestly, I haven’t written or edited that many romantic interludes while here.

It’s time to refill my tea and get to work.

Teaser Tuesday: All I Want

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Jason led Amy out of the restaurant. He dropped her hand and then he spun on the ball of his foot, completing several full turns. He stopped with a jump, planting his feet. “Whoo!”

“I guess you enjoyed your supper?” Amy ran after him as he danced down the street.

Jason leaped onto a planter before jumping and landing with another spin.

“If you were singing, I would think I’d been transported into a musical,” she said, looking up to Jason as he spun around a lamp pole.

He smiled down at her.

“Why do you say that?”

“Because you’re dancing up the street like a mad man.” She laughed.

Jason twirled and executed an undulating body wave before coming to a stop in front of Amy.

The breath caught in her throat as he merged their personal spaces. “You are music that makes me feel like dancing,” he confessed in a low whisper.

Amy expected her face to burst into flames with the heat of her flush, but instead it suddenly was cold and wet. She lifted her face to the sky to watch the sudden downpour overtake them.

She laughed. “It is like a musical, and now it’s raining.”

“You know what that means, don’t you?” Jason asked.

Amy shook her head.

“It means the hero gets to kiss the girl now.”

 

©2017 Lulu M Sylvian

Bad attempt at book reviews

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I recently attended a program on how to write a quality book review. I thought this is great, the more I get into writing and the more authors I meet and know the more I want to support them and help. This typically means read their book and leave and Amazon review.

Let’s be honest, my reviews kind of suck. I typically mention something random about the characters who—because I read romance A LOT—tend to need to either learn better communication skills, or need a clue fairy. Their do-they don’t-they relationships can make me batty, and that’s what typically comes across in a review. I might drop some spoilers, unintentionally.

What I don’t do its say this book was enjoyable because…..
I realized I only mention pacing when I admit to binge reading.

(have you noticed something yet?) I…I…I…I…

…and reviews aren’t supposed to be about me, but about the book.

When reviewing a book, it always comes down to my interaction with the story.

Ok, so the decision has been made: learn how to properly write a review and start adding book reviews to the blog.

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Hahahahahahahahahahah

WRONG

I honestly tried, really I did. But I fail so hard at pulling how I interacted with the book out of the process.

The plan was to run a practice review on one of two series I’ve been rereading lately.

So I’m thinking in my brain how I’m going to pull this off as I’m listening to the stories (I love audio books BTW), and I hit a wall. The character mentions not liking redheads. I take a personal affront to this. He mentions the Aventine District and Palatine Hill and I start thinking if these books influenced my subconscious over the Legantum characters and such. Ooh I really need to do more Rome research.

BAM I’m in the middle of it again.

And since I have no intention of turning this into a review site, I have learned that me composing quality reviews is probably not gonna happen.

But here go my reviews (cause I had this slot scheduled for book reviews):

The Didius Falco mysteries by Lindsey Davis

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The interactions between Marcus and Helena are delightful. The pacing of the books keep me interested. I can’t believe there are 20 books in this series already. I need to reread them all. Hey, I didn’t know Marsha was a Roman name.

If you aren’t familiar with these books, they are mysteries with a romantic element. They take place in ancient Rome and are a blast. Davis provides enough detail for you to get a real sense of life in the ancient Roman Empire–not so much that you feel the need to bathe immediately, but enough for you to realize modern TP and non-lead pipes are wonderful inventions.

https://www.amazon.com/Marcus-Didius-Falco-Books-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00URVJCZ6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492809363&sr=8-1&keywords=marcus+didius+falco+mystery+series


 

The Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs

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Yeah, Charles is yum, but damn Anna can put up with some serious shit. Only Patricia Briggs can make such a stoic scary man be so hot. I swear without Anna, Charles would just be pretty to look at and dangerous to touch, and a complete jackass to be around. I forgot once I got James McAvoy in my head as the model for Bran it was hard to focus on Charles as the book-boyfriend anymore.

Sigh

Werewolves, double sigh.

Oh and don’t forget to start the series with the short/novella Alpha and Omega from the On the Prowl collection!

https://www.amazon.com/Alpha-Omega-4-Books/dp/B00VZIE2KA/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1492809254&sr=8-16&keywords=alpha+and+omega+patricia+briggs


 

See I’m really no good at it.

No affiliate links or anything, I just think you should have links to the books, cause they are brilliant and you should read them.

Teaser Tuesday: Driven

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“Julia, darling, you fell back asleep.”

Julia groaned, “You let me? Why didn’t you wake me?’

“I feel asleep too Lambkins. I woke you when I came back around.”

Julia turned in Roman’s arms. Her face brushed against his. She rubbed her cheek against his, purring.

“This is nice, but did you really just call me lambkins?”

“I did.” Roman smiled as her hair tickled his face. “You like it when I recite Shakespeare, remember.”

“Oh, I remember.” Julia’s lips gently brushed Roman’s nose, before softly pressing against his lips.

 

Driven, Legantum book 2

©2016-2017 Lulu M Sylvian

Victoria Raschke, author interview

Victoria Raschke wrote her first short story at 10. Her mother said it was brilliant but pointed out she had written cereal” instead of serial.She still cant spell but did manage an M.A. in English from the University of Tennessee and a Culinary Arts degree from Nashville State Community College. Extensive travels in Eastern Europe led to spending a year in Slovenia, where her daydreams and upcoming book are set. Victoria lives in Knoxville with her cats and human family who really appreciate that culinary arts degree.

Who by Water is out today, links below for acquiring a copy!

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If I were interviewing you for TV, is this a late night comedy show or a daytime talk show? Are we gonna have a lip-sync battle, or dance badly and give stuff away?

I think a late night talk show, something in between couch chatting and dancing badly.

This is your first novel with Griffyn Ink, have you been published previously?

I haven’t published a novel previously. I’ve had a couple poems published (ages ago) and I write for a beer magazine as my side, side gig.

Tell us a bit about Who by Water. How many books are planned for the Voices of the Dead?

Who by Water is an urban fantasy novel that colors outside the lines of urban fantasy. It isn’t set in London or L.A. or New York. It’s set in the small Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, and draws on Eastern European history but isn’t about vampires. The protagonist, Jo Wiley, is a fortysomething mom who refuses to act her age. Though there is a vein of romance, finding love isn’t Jo’s focus in life. It’s also in third person rather than first person, but the dialogue is still pretty snappy.

When I started thinking about the long arc of the series, I thought there were five books but when I finished WBW, I realized it was really better as a quartet. I’m about halfway through writing book two now.

When did you first get the urge to write?

In fifth grade, when my English teacher had us all write limericks and haiku. I’d kept a diary as soon as I could write sentences, but that was the first time I realized writing stuff other people would see was an option for me. It spurred a very bad mystery short story called “The Corporate Cleaners” about a janitor who discovers her murdered boss. I’m pretty sure it was a pastiche of Murder, She Wrote episodes or something like that.

Do you have a favorite author who inspired you to start writing?

There wasn’t an author who inspired that bad, fifth grade poetry, but there were several writers who inspired me to write more speculative fiction. I adore British sci-fi and fantasy writers: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Warren Ellis, and Jasper Fforde. I’ve also always read mysteries and have spent the last few years actively seeking out women writing speculative fiction and mysteries because that list of British authors I love was all dudes.

If you could sit down and interview any fictional character, who would it be and why?

It’s probably cliché, but I would love to have a cup of tea with Dr. John Watson. I’m fascinated by sidekicks and how much they shape and steer protagonists. I love all the permutations of Watson’s character over the years in books, films, and television. My current favorite Watson is Lucy Liu’s portrayal on Elementary.

If you could sit down and interview any of your characters, who would it be and why?

I am all about the sidekicks, so I would probably interview Jo’s best friend and business partner Vesna Kos. She’s a bit of a still pond in the first book but her character and story develop more in the second book. Of all the characters in the series, she’d closest to being like me and I’m overly interested in getting into and rooting around in my own brain.

You used to be an instructor for a college culinary department. Do you have any plans on incorporating that into your writing?

There’s definitely some of that in Who by Water. Jo, Vesna, and Gregor own a punk teahouse together and there are kitchen scenes plucked straight out of my past in the restaurant industry. Jo is obsessed with Indian food and winds up eating or cooking it at some point in both books to date.

As someone who knows how to make good foods, which makes you cringe more: blue foods or bright red foods?

Definitely blue food. There is no natural food that color – not even blueberries. They’re purple. My family laughs at me because I love M&Ms but I pick the blue ones out.

What’s higher up on your list of things-I-would-buy-when-I-start-making-all-the-money-from-my-books shoes or tattoos?

Definitely tattoos. I have one, a seagull for my mom and the women in my family. I already have ideas for ones for writing, Slovenia, and ginkgo trees. Don’t get me wrong, I love shoes but I’m practical about them.

The first time we met, you had recently returned from Slovenia, and you just returned a few weeks ago again. How many times have you visited Solvenia? Did visiting spark the idea for your novel, or did you first visit as research for your novel?

I studied at the University of Ljubljana in the early 1990s when Slovenia was a brand-spanking new country. I lived there for about 15 months during very formative years and always carried that time around with me. Life intervened in a big way and it took me about 20 years to go back. In the last four years I’ve been three times and am perpetually planning a way to go back again.

When I went back the first time, I thought I was going to write a memoir about that formative experience there. I did write it but it’s god awful and will probably live in a virtual drawer forever. I’ve joked with my son that he can publish it after I’m dead. When I went back the second time, I was touring Roman sites and had this vivid flash of a body on an ancient piece of mosaic floor. That sparked the novel.

Do you travel a lot? Any plans of joining the Traveler’s Century Club and visiting 100 countries?

I love to travel, as does my family, but I like to marinate in a place more than just going to say I’ve been there. A weekend or a whirlwind trip isn’t as interesting to me as the opportunity to spend weeks or months getting to know a place and absorb the rhythm. I feel like I could visit a place like London every year and still not really ever know London. I’ll probably never make it to 100 different countries just because I keep going back to the same places to try to figure them out. I’d also really like to improve my Slovenian which seems to only get better when I’m there as I’m too lazy to practice much at home.

 

Victoria Raschke headshot

I’ve included the opening chapter. It sets the scene and tone for the book and therefore has the setup built right in. 

Who By Water Final [Excerpt]
click to download the first two chapters

 


 

Victoria is totally cool, you need to follow her on ALL the social media outlets!

Blog: victoriaraschke.com or readvictoria.com

There’s also an easter egg blog that Jo “keeps” for the shop: www.jowiley.si if you think it makes sense to include that somewhere.

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