Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author · New Release

Interview with an Author featuring Danielle M. Orsino

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Danielle M. Orsino! Her newest release, Kingdom Come (Birth of the Fae Book 4) release on May 30th 2022.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Danielle M. Orsino, I am a competitive martial artist and Nurse. However, I have left that all behind to write the Birth of the Fae series. I have two rescue pups Carlos which anyone who has read the Birth of the Fae series, may know him as “Los” the dragon.  Penelope my other little dog the readers will meet later in the series as “Lady Penelope” a member of the Aubane Faction.

What inspired you to start writing?

I am not a “Classically trained writer” the entire process was a huge learning experience. Overall writing the book was joyful. It came from an organic place, inspired by a patient who had been undergoing long IV treatments for a chronic illness and needed a distraction. I told him a story, that tale was the spark for the Birth of the Fae series. It was born from those sessions with him.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I go with the flow, I handwrite the books and begin the real editing work when I sit at the computer to type it out that is the first real edit. When I handwrite it is just to get it out of my head, I build the skeleton first, the first edit on the computer places the organs and I go from there.

How do you deal with emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?

Not sure I really deal with it, I tend to carry it with me this way as I write the next one I hold those feelings and work them out on paper.  I also make a playlist which mimics the emotional crescendo of the book that I listen to over and over as I write. The emotions are always flowing through me so I can call them back up.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

My characters are living inside of me at all times and they have their opinions about EVERYTHING!

What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?

The Characters, they will pop into my head with a voice and they are ready to go. I am there just to put their voice to paper that is my job, wherever it goes is anyone’s guess- and it makes it the journey a lot more fun. 

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

I do research based upon the character or creature, for example my dragons took months of research and illustration before they were ready to become the creatures ready for the Veil. I consulted with engineers, physics professors and veterinarians. I knew I wanted realistic dragons but I built them from the inside out, physiology and anatomy first, once I had that I did a deeper dive into their society, religion and built their world. However, first the dragons had to be real to me.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

“Queen of the Damned” by Anne Rice- first edition paperback one of my absolute favorites and “Wonder Woman- The Hiketia” by Greg Rucka.

Do you have any new series planned?

I am finishing up book 6 of Birth of the Fae which will be the last book in this Volume, we will then move onto Volume two which begins a new chapter for the Fae- Birth of a Succubus, Volume two.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Find a great editor, and write for yourself, write the books you want to read, it will come from an authentic place.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

My books are just that- books, a form of escapism. I am honored every time someone reaches out and says they picked up my book. I think the art of storytelling is the oldest form of entertainment and I love that I get to be a part of that tradition. My books are high fantasy twisted with some dark humor, political intrigue and great fight scenes. They also aren’t long books. I did that on purpose, I don’t think reading should be chore. Sometime fantasy can be overwhelming with all the worldbuilding, magical systems and stuff, readers can run from it. Yes, there is worldbuilding, especially in book one but mine are not 400-page books they are gateway books into the fantasy genre if you haven’t read fantasy before. If you like it then you can read my books back-to-back for that binge feel. I also put two books out a year. So, no waiting years for my endings (George we are all looking at you… )

Thank you Danielle M. Orsino for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, Kingdom Come today!

~Synopsis~

All is peaceful in the Veil, which is usually when everything falls apart…

Queen Aurora of the Court of Light and King Jarvok of the Court of Dark have fallen in love despite all odds. A relationship of political convenience has turned into something real and tangible for the two monarchs. After centuries of conflict and mistrust, the two Courts are about to unite as one: the Court of the Fae. But not every Fae is happy about the impending union.

Queen Aurora’s most trusted advisors have never lost touch with their old Angelic ways. These bishops still believe that Virtues and Power Angels were never meant to mix. According to them, Queen Aurora is no longer suitable to rule. As they mount a complex coup d’état to grasp the throne, a new threat to the monarchy makes their move.

Will the entire foundation of peace crumble with one last act of betrayal? Or will the bond between Court of Light and Dark prevail in the face of danger?

Danielle M. Orsino is a fantasy novelist whose lifelong vision to create whimsical realms that her readers can escape to. Her compelling word-weaving pays homage to a multitude of personal muses, from Chris Claremont and George Pérez (both famous comic book writers), to Anne Rice and Wonder Woman. 

The creative spark of storytelling has been with Danielle ever since she was a child, but martial arts and her nursing career took center stage into adulthood. Then, on a day like any other, it was reignited during the most unexpected of moments: while treating one of her patients. Seeing that they longed for a distraction during their arduous treatments, the floodgates of inspiration soon burst forth. So, Danielle took it upon herself to tell them a story; a fantastical narrative that would leave the confines of that IV room’s walls and land upon a page. Before she knew it, what started as an imaginative tale to pass the time, turned into book, followed by an entire series: The Birth of Fae. This awe-inspiring series includes Locked out of Heaven (Book One), Thine Eyes of Mercy (Book Two), and From The Ashes (Book Three), all of which are published by 4 Horsemen Publications, Inc. And with an unwavering passion for cosplay and comics, it was a unanimous decision to place her on the cover of each book in all her Fae cosplay glory. The Birth of Fae also features Los, an affable chameleon dragon inspired by her fun-loving Yorkie named Carlos.  

When writing wasn’t at the forefront of her mind, Danielle was a successful Martial Artist. Some of her achievements include “1999 World Martial Arts Hall of Fame Inductee”, “Female Martial Artist of the Year”, “WKA World Champion Silver Medalist 2008”, and numerous more. She has also garnered hundreds of martial art tournament wins, various other national and world titles, and features on big-name channels like TLC and CBS. She even had the rare opportunity to perform for former U.S. President Bill Clinton and collaborate alongside Vincent Lyn and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. From there, she pursued her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science, and she is now a Licensed Practical Nurse who focuses on Lyme disease research.

This “New Queen of the Fae’s” unmatched world-building and masterful Fae-origin retellings have led to an ever-growing queendom of “Fae-natics”. 

To begin embarking upon a quest in an epic world unlike any other, visit Danielle M. Orsino’s official website at http://www.BirthOfTheFae.com. You can also connect with her on Instagram (@BirthOfTheFae_Novel) and Twitter (@BirthOfTheFae).

New Release · Review

Wicked Crown (The Wicked Book 1) by Luna Joya – My Review


Title: Wicked Crown (The Wicked Book 1)

Author: Luna Joya

Release Date: July 5th 2022

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy


She’s not who-or what-she appears to be. Neither is he.

Supermodel Vori would be happy to stay in the human world, blissfully ignoring her true nature. But no. The blood vow she once made requires her to return to the Goblin Court. And since going alone would mean consenting to an arranged marriage, she needs a fake husband. Someone no one would miss if there was an unfortunate…accident. Vori knows the perfect villain for the job.

Witch Perry used to be a hotshot lawyer. But that was before he made all the wrong choices, wound up in league with a demon, and was left to rot in prison. Now, he has a second chance. He can finally earn his redemption. Too bad his last hope is the woman he ghosted two years ago.

It’s not long before Vori and Perry realize they aren’t as different as they thought-and that the line between enemies and lovers can be razor thin. But if they want their happily ever after, they’ll first have to stop a supernatural killer and survive a royal smackdown. Should be easy for a goblin princess and her dashing antihero, right?

If only.

Wicked Crown is a fierce alluring read that will leave you wanting more!

Ever since I was introduced to Vori, I wanted to know more about her. She intrigued me from that first intro and I was thrilled she got her very own book! Can we take a moment to admire that fire cover?

Right away, I was pulled into the book. This story was everything I wanted. Action, intrigue, steam, and most of all, Vori’s story. I was already invested because I’m a huge fan and follower of The Legacy Series. Vori is much more that what she portrays herself to be.

I can’t recommend this book enough! If you love paranormal romance with steam and action, this book is for you. Skip adding this to your TBR and one click it today! I give this 5 stars.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*

Review

Sinkhole by Davida Breier – My Review


Title: Sinkhole

Author: Davida Breier

Release Date: May 26th 2022

Genre: Thriller, Coming of Age


Humidity, lovebugs, and murder.

Lies from the past and a dangerous present collide when, after fifteen years in exile, Michelle Miller returns to her tiny hometown of Lorida, Florida. With her mother in the hospital, she’s forced to reckon with the broken relationships she left behind: with her family, with friends, and with herself.

As a teenager, Michelle felt isolated and invisible until she met Sissy, a dynamic and wealthy classmate. Their sudden, intense friendship was all-consuming. Punk rocker Morrison later joins their clique, and they become an inseparable trio. They were the perfect high school friends, bound by dysfunction, bad TV, and boredom―until one of them ends up dead.

Forced to confront the life she turned her back on fifteen years ago, she begins questioning what was truth and what were lies. Now at a distance, Michelle begins to see how dangerous Sissy truly was.

An ingenious debut from editor and publisher Davida Breier, Sinkhole is a mesmerizing, darkly comic coming-of-age novel immersed in 1980s central Florida. A disturbing and skillful exploration of home, friendship, selfhood, and grief set amidst golf courses, mobile homes, and alligators.

A brilliantly dark read!

I read the synopsis and saw the story would be taking place in the 1980’s. Done! I love anything 80’s. The story has a dark vibe to it and I was there for it. Growing up and trying to fit in is hard. We’ve all been there. Michelle wants a friend and meets Sissy.

The characters are all very well written. I found myself relating and connecting to some of them and what they were going through. High school is rough. Fitting in is rough. There were times I shouted out loud because I saw the signs. Those red flags. I wanted to warn them. I was fully invested in the book! I found it hard to put the book down but I needed to know how it ended! The twist was a really good one and the ending felt like the sun rising on a new day.

I highly enjoyed this book. It is very well written and the author’s storytelling is fantastic. I can’t wait to see more from this author. If you’re a fan of thrillers and mystery, give this book a try! You won’t be disappointed. I give this 5 stars.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*

Review

The Prisoner of Paradise: A Dual-Timeline Thriller Set in Venice (Painted Souls Book 1) – My Review


Title: The Prisoner of Paradise: A Dual-Timeline Thriller Set in Venice (Painted Souls Book 1)

Author: Rob Samborn

Release Date: November 30th 2022

Genre: Historical, Thriller

A trip of a lifetime.
A 433-year-old murder.
An ancient order that will kill to silence the truth.


AMERICAN WRITING AWARDS FINALIST (THRILLERS/ADVENTURES)
Nick and Julia O’Connor’s dream trip to Venice collapses when a haunting voice reaches out to Nick from Tintoretto’s Paradise, the world’s largest oil painting.

Though Julia worries her husband suffers from a delusion, Nick is adamant the voice belongs to a woman from the 16th century—his soul mate from a previous life. He discovers a religious order that has developed a method of extracting people’s souls, which they imprison in Paradise. Over the centuries, they’ve judged thousands of souls and sentenced them to eternal purgatory.

As infatuation with the past clouds his commitment to his present-day wife, Nick must right an age-old wrong—destroy the painting and liberate his soul mate. But freeing her would allow all the souls to be reborn.

The order will never let that happen.

A riveting thriller ignites with a time-spanning love story. Perfect for fans of Dan Brown, Diana Gabaldon, Neil Gaiman or David Mitchell.

This book was quite the adventure! Secret society and the past and future colliding makes for an interesting read. The beginning was a little slow for me. I struggled a bit to keep reading. I knew characters and plot were being set up so I kept going. I did find the switching of views between the characters a bit confusing at times. I wasn’t sure who’s point of view I was reading because it had switched. I found myself enjoying the chapters that featured the past. From the way they spoke to the events, I found those chapters most enjoyable. I didn’t connect with any of the characters. They all seemed like pretty awful people but I feel it was intentional. None of these issues affected the story for me too much. I kept reading and found myself immersed in a different world. There are twists and turns and I had to know what would happen next!

All that being said, this was a good read. I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone with this book and I’m so glad I did. If you’re a fan of historical time travel thrillers, this book is right up your alley! I give this 3 stars.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*

Review

Rowan: The Lochlann Feuds Complete Series – My Review


Title: Rowan: The Lochlann Feuds Complete Series

Author: Robin D. Mahle & Elle Madison

Release Date: June 9th 2022

Genre: Historical Romance

A Reckless Princess. An Enemy Kingdom. And a mistake that could cost her everything.

Rowan never wanted the kind of love you go to war for — the kind of love that could break you.

But when a harmless adventure lands her in the dungeons of her enemy, she’ll realize that’s just one of many things that’s beyond her control. Between Socairan politics, blood debts, and arseling lords with perilously gray morality, Rowan is forced to learn more than she ever wanted to about herself, about the kinds of choices she is capable of making.

And about how much she’s willing to risk for a love she never wanted to begin with.

**The Lochlann Feuds takes place after the events of The Lochlann Treaty Series, but it can be devoured and enjoyed all on its own.**

A fantastic and exciting series!

From beginning to end, these stories will captivate you and then leave you wanting more! It was great to read and watch Rowan change from that very first page to the end. Nothing went like I thought it would and it was glorious! The characters were a fun bunch and very well written. Well, some weren’t as fun. You’ll see what I mean once you dive in. I had my favorites for sure. Secrets, lies, and revenge made for some really great reading. Was I irrationally angry when I had to put the book down? Yes but in my defense I REALLY wanted to stay in this world!

If you love adventure, witty characters, and more, this collection is for you! I’m a fan of this writing duo and will highly recommend their books to anyone who will listen. I give this 5 stars.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author · New Release

Interview with an Author featuring Kris Calvin

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Kris Calvin! Her latest release, Under a Broken Sky: A Novel release on July 12th 2022.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

When I was little, I didn’t feel safe in my own home. Sadly, I’m far from the only child who has endured those circumstances. But my particular response to having a frightening reality was to also fear what my imagination might hold—I didn’t play make-believe, and I didn’t originally have much interest in “telling stories”. Fortunately, I discovered the local public library, where the librarians and staff were unfailingly kind and the children facing peril in my books had happy endings. 

For my career, I worked in an analytical and unimaginative, but fulfilling policy job advocating for children’s well-being in the state legislature. In the process, I wrote a lot of dry policy memos and letters. It wasn’t until I was in my 50s that I felt “safe” enough to  explore my creative side and write fiction.

What time of the day do you usually write?

5am to 9am.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

Before I start writing, none–I don’t make outlines. But as I write, I pause frequently to envision everything. I need to be able to see a scene in my mind to transform the scene into words, so every sound, color, and texture matters.

Which of your books were the most enjoyable to write?

I am always most enamored with what I am currently working on. What’s already written and out there has to be “forgotten” for my new ideas to feel fresh. Right now that means a dual timeline story with two strong women protagonists set 100 years apart.

What gave you that final push to press publish on your first book?

When I shared my first manuscript for my first book, a “whodunnit” mystery called One Murder More, with a developmental editor, to my horror she pronounced it “terrible”. She said from my years working in policy I wrote clearly, but that what I’d produced was dull and dry. My characters only “saw” things; they didn’t touch or hear or smell. I spent a year in workshops and read countless books on writing fiction, gaining what I could from those who had already done it. I contracted with a hybrid publisher, they set a deadline, and I was ready. For my second book, the first in the Emma & Alibi series, I did 17 drafts before I submitted it to a traditional publisher, who gave me a 2-book contract. For that one, I was “ready” when I was done!

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I know a lot of authors don’t read their Goodreads and Amazon reviews. I read each one. I don’t expect a book of mine to be a good fit for everyone, so it doesn’t bother me when that happens (unless the reader is flat out mean and calls me names, which has only happened once). I learn from what people like best and what they struggled with and do my best to use that to improve my writing. The most common positive comment is that people like Emma, my 32-yr-old ethics investigator, and Alibi my homicide cop. They also seem to like the dynamic between Emma and her best friend, Kate, and Kate’s teen son. 

Negatives have included a few people saying I describe clothing too much (which as a result I dialed down in my later books 🙂 and that the names are “weird”. (I didn’t change that. I like weird names.)

Favorite book when you were a kid?

Black Stallion.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

I love this question! I used to play this game with my kids and their friends. 

For me? 

(1) Responsible. Ugh, I was once on a 3rd date with a man who I thought was about to tell me how fabulous I was and instead he said, “If I could sum you up in one word, it would be ‘responsible’.” No 4th date for him! 

(2) Kind. Not always and not perfectly, but one plus side of having lived in fear is I have no interest in making anyone feel anything other than respected and safe.

(3) Creative! This is a new one, late-in-life, but being creative is now a big part of who I am.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Write every day, and don’t share what you’ve written until you are very far along.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

I write thrillers where no harm comes to children. They may be in danger, and we may worry for them, but every child you come to know in my books will be safe.

Thank you Kris Calvin for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, Under a Broken Sky today!

~Synopsis~

In this Sacramento-set thriller perfect for fans of Meg Gardiner, Emma Lawson uncovers greed and deception for a living, but this time is different. If only she knew this killer can hear her.

He can see her.

One year into her prized role as the youngest ethics investigator in California’s history, Emma suspects corruption in the state’s billion dollar expansion to train travel. That unwittingly puts her on a killer’s trail – a killer who will do anything to reach his illicit million dollar payday, including personally eliminating Emma Lawson as a threat.

Detective Alibi Morning Sun sees connections where no one else does. For him, a drowning at a lake, a fire in a storage facility and a murder by the river carry a thread soaked in blood.

As Emma follows the money and Alibi traces bullets and bodies, the killer counts down to his grand finale. With each mounting danger, it quickly becomes apparent that the corruption Emma has been digging for is real— and it’s deadly.

Three days. Two days. Now only one…

Kris Calvin’s latest novel, UNDER A BROKEN SKY (July 12, 2021; Crooked Lane Books) is the second in her Emma & Alibi mystery-thriller series. Kris served for more than 20 years as the CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics in California, and was honored for her leadership in advocacy for children by the California Legislature. You can visit Kris online at kriscalvin.com.

kriscalvin.com

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author featuring D.B. Motu

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is D.B. Motu! His debut novel, Lords Of The Archipelago: Blood-Feud released on August 1st 2021.

Tell us a bit about yourself

Hi! My name is D.B. Motu. My debut novel, Lords of the Archipelago: Blood-Feud, is a modern-day-pirate action thriller, with a hard-edged Romeo & Juliet love story mixed in. 

I was born on an island you’ve probably never heard of and I spent most of my childhood not far from the South China Sea Archipelago, where the events of the novel take place.

I currently live and write in sunny Southern California.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember; short stories, songs and even poetry…whatever I could put down on paper. I wrote screenplays for years—and my greatest claim to screenwriting fame is that Wes Craven once declined a script of mine, because he thought it was too dark! The man who gave us Freddy Krueger thought my script was too dark. Fantastic. Now, to be clear, I don’t write horror, but the script he read was a dark drama and very grim. Anyway, I’m pretty proud of that particular rejection!

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

For my day job, I’m a background actor. I’m the blurry guy that you see in the background of some of your favorite tv shows and movies, the don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-me guy. My writing quirk is that I enjoy writing on set. As a matter of fact, I have some of my most productive writing days on tv and movie sets. The constant activity and energy seem to tap directly into my creative flow somehow. I love it.

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

Well, my debut novel is actually an adaptation of a script I wrote years ago. I went back and took a script that had been well received in Hollywood and I turned that script into a novel. I had to flesh it out quite a bit, because when you write a script you only write what the audience can see onscreen. The screenwriter doesn’t include thoughts or emotions, except through the actions of the characters. For the script to read like a book, I had to fill in the gaps, but it was great fun!

What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

At the end of the day, I am a storyteller. I tell stories for the enjoyment of others, and if I can stumble through a narrative effectively enough to take someone on an adventure, then I’ve done what I set out to do. I don’t have a message, I just want a reader to lose themselves for a little while in the magic of a tale well told. If I manage to make them laugh or cry or feel inspired along the way, then all the better, and I’m happy.

What is the significance of the title?

Ha! That is a funny question, because the title has seen many changes. When I first wrote the story as a script, it was simply ‘Archipelago’. My agent was not a big fan of that title, so we kicked around a few ideas and then he suggested ‘Guardians of the Reef’. We went with that. When I turned the script into a novel, I went back to one of the ideas we had discarded, ‘Lords of the Archipelago’, then added ‘Blood-Feud’ at the last minute, in an attempt to make it sound more action-y.

What gave you that push to press the publish button?

I have always been super excited about the idea that I could tell a story and someone else could hear it or read it. That has always seemed magical to me, and it’s what led me to publish this novel. I want as many people as possible to be a part of this circle and enjoy the stories I tell. 

What was the highlight of writing this book?

That’s a tough question, but a good one. The process of writing is such a roller coaster but I have to say that the greatest moments in the creation of the book were when I could see that my beta readers had connected with the characters–that those characters had become real to them and they were no longer strangers. That process of creating something out of nothing is absolutely magical and I will never get used to it.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with me?

Thanks for asking. I’m working on the sequel to ‘Lords of the Archipelago: Blood-Feud’ and that is going quite well. I tend to work on more than one project at the same time, so I’m also working on adapting another script into a novel. I’m very excited about that project, as it gives me a chance to reconnect with characters that I wrote a decade ago.

What advice would you give to other authors?

I’m no expert, but… 

READ. Whenever you can. As much as you can. That would be my first piece of advice. 

Secondly–WRITE! I know that sounds obvious, but writers need to write. Every single day. Be consistent and strict with your writing time. Don’t dilute it with distractions. Do your research outside of writing time. Do your social media posts and marketing outside of writing time. If you lock in dedicated writing time, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.  

Finally–give yourself grace. Being a writer/author is hard. Don’t beat yourself up. The world needs your words. 

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

I love writing. I want people to know that my goal is to tell a story as well as I can. As far as the books are concerned, it’s the same. I want people to enjoy them enough to care about what happens to the characters. I wouldn’t mind if I made a reader laugh or smile every now and then as well. I believe stories are essential. I’m excited that I can be a part of the process of building worlds and adventures that other people can walk in. I’ll never get tired of it. 

By the way,I love to hear readers’ thoughts about my book. If you decide to read it, you can always connect with me through TikTok (@authordbmotu). I can’t wait to hear what you think! 

Thank you.

 

Thank you D.B. Motu for chatting with me! I will include his information down below. Check out his debut release, Lords Of The Archipelago today!

~Synopsis~

A brutal, modern-day-pirate syndicate.
A young man torn between family honor and the woman he loves.
Deadly secrets. Cold-blooded killers.
Welcome to the Archipelago.

The Tavingtons are the PIRATE LORDS OF THE ARCHIPELAGO—the most powerful family in a high-seas, 21st-century pirate syndicate—and Caleb Tavington is the heir to the throne.

Unknown to the syndicate, Caleb wants out. He’s in love with Emma Wallace, and in the Archipelago that’s a death sentence, because the Wallaces and the Tavingtons are locked in a deadly blood-feud, with decades of hatred and violence between them.

Caleb knows that, to survive, he and Emma have to disappear, and he has an exit plan…but then everything falls apart.

To make it out alive, this modern-day Romeo and Juliet must walk a deadly tightrope of betrayal, blood-feud and war, and Caleb will have to remind an ocean full of stone-cold killers why he is the most feared pirate in the syndicate—and still a Lord of the Archipelago.

Readers call this explosive action-thriller ‘RIVETING’, ‘BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED’ & ‘ACTION-PACKED’

D.B. Motu is a recovering screenwriter, often found drowning in coffee shops. He was born on an island you’ve never heard of, grew up under martial law in Southeast Asia, and currently lives and writes in sunny Southern California. He insists he’s directly descended from Samoan and British royalty, and counts among his ancestors a South Seas pirate. He’s a board-gaming poet and aspiring liar. Pull up a chair.

Link to Amazon page:
Link to Goodreads Author Page:
Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author · New Release

Interview with an Author featuring S.C. Grayson

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is S.C. Grayson! Her debut, Spears and Shadows (Defenders of the Light Book 1) released June 16th 2022.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

 Hi! I’m S.C. Grayson, and I’m a fantasy romance author. My first book, Spears and Shadows, released on June 16th. I was born and raised in Chicago (and I show my love for my hometown in my books), but I now live in Pittsburgh with my husband and our two adorable cats. When I’m not writing, I’m a registered nurse and a breast cancer researcher.

Congrats on your debut release! How was that experience for you?

It’s been great! My debut has been out for about a month now, and I’m still waiting for the day it will really sink in that I’m a published author now. It still doesn’t feel real. I don’t even know what to do with my personal copy of Spears and Shadows. It’s sitting laying sideways across other books on my shelf, haphazardly shoved in there because I’m out of room. I should make a place of honor for it I suppose, but I just haven’t gotten there.

How long have you been writing?

Fiction? This book is my first foray into fiction, and I started writing it back in 2018. After I finished drafting it, the story sat on my computer untouched for almost a whole year, since I didn’t know if I was going to publish it. At first, I started writing it just for myself, so when I realized I wanted to share it with the world, it took me a while to figure out how I wanted to do that.

In terms of writing in general though, I’ve been at that for quite a while! I’m currently a nurse researcher working towards my PhD, so I’ve written a good number of scientific publications regarding my research of breast cancer genetics. I even wrote a chapter in a genetics textbook that is being published in September! It feels extra special to publish fiction and nonfiction in the same year.

Describe a typical writing day.

I’m not sure I have a “typical” day, considering I don’t really have a writing routine. I tend to write huge chunks at a time, followed by a period of days with no (fiction) writing when I get busy with science. When I am dedicating a day to my writing though, I walk to my favorite local coffee shop and camp out with an iced americano and one of their homemade rice krispie treats. I think I wrote at least 75% of Spears and Shadows while sitting in that coffee shop!

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

This is one of the questions I get asked the most and still is one of the hardest for me to answer. I’m not always sure where my ideas come from when they pop into my head. I do know that what makes me sit down and write is the need to make the kind of stories I would like to read. I started by first book because I had been reading a lot for a period, and I still felt like I was looking for a specific story that I wasn’t able to find. I decided that I owned a laptop, so I might as well fix the problem by creating it myself!

What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

First and foremost, I want my readers to be entertained. Especially in this day and age, I feel like we could all use a little escapism. If I offer readers a chance to spend an afternoon engrossed in another world, then I will have done my job.

What is the significance of the title?

To be transparent, the title wasn’t settled on until well after I had signed a publishing contract, much closer to publication. For me, the spear was really important as it symbolizes the start of the adventure. The weapon is what draws Nora, the main character, into the whole new world she discovers. The Shadow is the evil in the story, and while it is a dark and mysterious force, it isn’t the traditional characterization of evil. The concept of an evil that is born from the good, just like light casts a shadow, is a central tenant of the story. So, Spears and Shadows refers to two of the most important aspects of the story. Plus, who doesn’t like a little alliteration?

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Enthusiastic, unconventional, compassionate.

What was the highlight of writing this book?

Sharing my book with my sister and my husband for the first time was incredible. They are the first people to read everything I write. My sister and I have been reading fantasy and discussing it since I could read, so being able to talk with her about a story I wrote was really special. This book really wouldn’t exist without my husband’s support, so handing him the first copy and having him open it to see the dedication to him in the front was a teary moment for me.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with me?

Yes! I have the first book in another series scheduled to release in January. It is called Beauty and the Blade and is a reimagining of Beauty and the Beast taking place in a dystopian version of Victorian London that is being overrun by magical street gangs. Spears and Shadows is also getting not one, but two sequels! So all the reviewers who have been saying they want to know more about the side characters, your time is coming.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Write the story you want to tell. You can figure the rest out later.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

I write because I love telling stories! I have a job outside of writing that I wouldn’t leave even if I sold a million copies. So for me, this is about sharing books and connecting with people through the characters I create. With that in mind, I don’t think I’ll ever be tired of hearing from readers. I genuinely love to connect with all of you!

 

Thank you S.C. Grayson for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her latest release, Spears and Shadows today!

~Synopsis~

Nora struggled with work-life balance even before an immortal sorcerer showed up and turned her career-and her love life, upside down.

Historian Nora Zvezda is gunning for a promotion at The Chicago Field Museum. The discovery of two ancient Greek weapons unlike any she’s seen before might be her big break-but the artifacts are more than they seem.

Trying to uncover their secrets, Nora enlists the help of professor of ancient languages, Dr. Adam Scott, an undeniably handsome man of intrigue. Nora has been too busy to worry about romance, but Adam seems to be overflowing with charm-and secrets, the biggest being his rank among the Eteria, a secret society of powerful sorcerers who’ve been in hiding since the days of the Greek empire.

When Nora’s work with the ancient and mystical weapons draws the attention of the Shadow, a powerful force that feeds off fear and negative emotions, she finds herself thrust in the middle of a perilous, age-old war between good and evil.

To protect herself, she must join the Eteria in their fight, all while struggling not to sacrifice the life she’s worked so hard for. Complicating things further is her undeniable desire for Adam and the feeling that he may be hiding more than his status as an immortal sorcerer.

S.C. Grayson has been reading fantasy novels since she was a little girl stealing books from her older sister’s shelves, and that has developed into a love of writing and storytelling. Her writing is currently focused on fantasy and paranormal romance. When she is not sitting in a local coffee shop writing and consuming an iced americano, Grayson is a nurse working towards a PhD in nursing with a focus on breast cancer genetics. She lives in Pittsburgh with her loving husband and their two cats, who enjoy contributing to her work by walking across her keyboard at inopportune moments (the cats, not the husband).

Website/newsletter sign up: https://www.scgrayson.com/
Spears and Shadows on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B1CJF65W
Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author featuring J.S. Latshaw

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is J.S. Latshaw! Author of the Brathius Legacy Series.

How long have you been writing?

I was one of those kids that was always writing, trying (and too often succeeding) to make my classmates perform my plays. I remember a Christmas play in 3rd grade where for some reason I thought making 80% of the production an intense birthing scene would be a good idea, and my teachers didn’t agree, though they expressed their horror too late, only after it was performed for an audience of visiting parents. More formally, I started writing screenplays 20 years ago, and novels 7 years ago.

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

I get my inspiration from living life and all the hurts and joys that come from doing that, from exploring the outdoors, from lots of reading (fiction and non-fiction), from unapologetically watching and loving movies and television, and from paying attention to what rattles around in my head and heart throughout the day.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

For me, a whole lot. I normally do not start writing until I’ve got a ton of raw material to work with, and I can inhabit the world and hang out with the characters. I think about stories and worlds for a long time before I write, normally during long solitary hikes in the santa monica mountains. Sometimes I even try to write little almanacs and encyclopedia entries about the worlds my stories take place in, and answer a lot of those questions. I’m curious about mapping all these things out, whether I’ll use them in the books or not, it’s important for me to know. Of course, while writing more of the world will be revealed to me too. But I need to have a lot of it felt and known prior to writing pages.

What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

I would hope characters are transported somewhere faraway and fantastic, and yet in that journey learn something about their everyday life and their own heart. I want people to feel like they’re reaching for the unknown and grasping enough of it to think they’ve embarked on an adventure. There’s a lot of loss and pain and joy and curiosity and strength and weakness and betrayal and heartbreak in my books, and I want people to feel those things deeply.

What is the significance of the title?

I’ve always been fascinated by the hidden dangers in this world, the creatures in the shadows, the sea monsters hidden below the surface. There’s something about an unmapped, unknown area that is both incredible attractive to me, and utterly frightening, at the same time. So with THE THREAT BELOW, to me that’s both a warning but also a siren’s call. Yes, it’s dangerous down there, but isn’t it also exciting? And don’t you want to know what’s going on exactly?

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Curious, sensitive, active.

What was the highlight of writing this book?

Finishing it! And having it exist not only in my head, but in a form where other people can experience it, live in it, interact with it, love or hate it, feel something. That’s been truly satisfying in a way I wasn’t fully aware it would be prior to writing.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with me?

Yes! I’ve finished the sequel to the Threat Below, and now I’m working on the third in the series. (I have 4 books planned all together.) I’m also almost finished a shorter stand alone novel which is set in this same world, but a completely different location with different characters. And I’ve completed a novel with a writing partner which I’m also very excited about and we’re pursuing traditional publishing for that one.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Oh goodness. One, write what’s exciting to you. If you’re looking at a chapter and you think I don’t want to write this because it feels boring… don’t write it! If you’re bored by it, there’s little chance someone else will enjoy it. Find another way, find something that intrigues you, characters who beguile you, stories that enfold you. And two, expect the criticism, and listen to what is useful but tune the rest out. Nobody can write something that everybody in the world loves. Accept that. There is no bullet proof book. Write something that you love, and there’s a good chance many others will love it too. And lastly, just write it! It’s scary to actually bring something that exists only in your head onto the page, because it never looks quite as good there as you’d hoped. But something on the page, that actually exists in the real world, is a thousand times better than something that lives only in your head. Accept this on faith, and press into it. You will fight yourself on this. But make the writing your goal, and tune out the naysaying.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

If you like headstrong stubborn but lovable characters, faraway worlds that maybe could have been or could still be, mysterious monsters that aren’t quite what you think they are (but are, I promise you, still monsters – not people in masks, I will never write a scooby doo ending, my monsters are always real, and huge stories that ultimately focus on heart and relationships, you might find something you like in my work.

 

Thank you J.S. Latshaw for chatting with me! I will include his information down below. Check out Brathius Legacy Series today!

~Synopsis~

She heard the legends. She knew the history. But nothing could have prepared her for what she found.

Three hundred years ago, a lethal and mysterious threat arose and pushed humanity to the brink of extinction. Now, a small remnant – the descendants of the few survivors who escaped the massacre below – lives above the clouds, atop a mountain. When they discover their water supply is being poisoned, an expedition, including seventeen year-old Icelyn Brathius, must descend and face the horror that wiped out civilization centuries ago.

The danger is closer than you think. The shocking true nature of the Threat Below.

As Icelyn faces dangers in a world humans are not meant to survive, she learns that not everything is as it seems, uncovers an ancient revelation, and faces a choice that will change the fate of everyone above and below the clouds. Will Icelyn be strong enough to survive – and bear a terrible secret?

Read this page-turning adventure today. 

Jason was raised in Pennsylvania and now lives in Los Angeles, where he attended UCLA’s Screenwriting MFA program.

Website: https://jlatshaw.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jasonsethlatshaw/?hl=en

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author featuring Kristy Brown

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Kristy Brown! Author of The Summer Solstice series.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

When I was a teen, I wrote lots of poetry and short stories, but I ended up falling in love with drama. I studied acting at university. After having my first child I started writing again. A short story turned into my first book, KIERA’S QUEST, a Middle Grade fantasy series. I haven’t stopped writing since. 

What time of the day do you usually write? 

I usually write when the husband and kids are at work/ school/ college. I need total silence. Normally I try to fit in two to three hours a day. 

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

If I’m to be honest the characters usually come first and I build the world around them. There was lots of world building in Kiera’s Quest as it happens across different magical realms. 

Which of your books were the most enjoyable to write?  

All my books are special to me for different reasons. I love Summer, Alex and Andi in Summer’s End. I love the magical romance in Cinderfella, a modern-day retelling with all roles reversed. Kiera’s Quest was an adventure as I could go mad with my imagination creating new creatures and worlds. Just Sam was the easiest to write as there’s a lot of my personality in it. For instance, Sam loves tennis, as do I (watching, not playing!) She loves Disney and I love a bit of that! My problem is that I can’t seem to stick to a genre. I write whatever may pop into my head. 

What book is currently by your bedside table? 

Flock by Kate Stewart. 

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say? 

Yes, I love talking to them. Mostly it’s positive asking me to continue with a series etc. 

Favorite book when you were a kid? 

The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl because I have fond memories of my grandad reading it to me and chuckling all the way through. 

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be? 

Honest. Caring. Creative. 

What advice would you give to other authors? 

Read as much as possible. Edit as much as possible. Get a thick skin because not every reader will like your work. 

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

That I love writing each one and hope that the reader finds something to love too. 

I’m currently writing a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet…watch this space 😊 

 

Thank you Kristy Brown for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her series today!

~Synopsis~

YA Paranormal Romance

She wakes up in the hospital, badly burned with no identity.
He’s been trained to kill her before she burns the world to ashes.
When they finally meet, will he be able to take her life now that he’s started to feel for her?
His fate is already written.
The prophecy is already set.
Love between them is forbidden.

Hi I’m Kristy and I live in the U.K. I have always written short stories and poetry. I went to university to study acting which I loved, but my real passion has always been writing. So, now I write the kind of stories I would have wanted to read as a teen. “Kiera’s Quest- part one & two,” a Middle-grade/ teen fantasy series, is now available on e-book and paperback. If you like shape shifters, magical realms and a chosen one, then this may be for you!
My YA contemporary romance book, “Just Sam,” about a young tennis star who loses someone important and has to trust in life and love again, is available on Amazon in print & on Kindle, as is my YA/NA fairy-tale retelling, “Cinderfella.”​ Cinderfella has all roles reversed and is aimed slightly older, as there is a little passion and darkness to this tale, but still keeps the magic of the original.
I also have a YA Paranormal Romance trilogy, ‘The Summer Solstice series.’ “Summer’s End,” book one, “Summer’s Lost” (2) and “Summer’s Time,” are all available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited, as are all my titles. I love reading of course. I have lots of new projects in mind, and I’m currently working on a retelling of Romeo and Juliet.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KristyBrownWrites/

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3nAKk7O