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Interview with an Author featuring S.A. Mackenzie

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is S.A. Mackenzie! Her upcoming release, Possessing Greed: A Sons of Satan Novel releases September 13th 2022.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

 I am an avid video game player and reader. I spend most of my time inside, hiding away from the world because it’s my happy place. My son is my favourite person in the world next to my husband and I would spend all of my time with them if I could. My favourite activity with friends is playing board and card games. I love to laugh, I cry way too easily, and I’m very apologetically me (it’s the Canadian in me, we apologize for everything!)

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No, actually. I’ve always been an avid reader, but sitting down and writing out stories was never something that interested me until I had my son. After my son was born, I was desperate to find a purpose for me, especially as a stay at home mom. For almost a year, I spent so much time daydreaming while idly rocking my baby and those daydreams turned into full stories in my head. So, I just picked up my laptop and started writing one day. I’ve never looked back since then.

What time of the day do you usually write?

I fit it in when I can! As the needs of my child change, so does my writing schedule. Right now, it’s mostly the morning and early afternoon, though I do write in the evenings when I have a deadline coming up.

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

I’m a pantser for the most part. From the time an idea sprouts, I normally do a lot of vague large world building. Once writing actually starts, I try to have a basic outline of point a to point b, but I give my characters and creativity the reigns. Sometimes we get off track, but it all comes together in the end. The journey is a lot of fun when all you have is the destination in mind. 

Which of your books were the most enjoyable to write?

Hmm, that’s a hard one. The most enjoyable was probably the one releasing mid-September, Possessing Greed. It’s a shared world so the world building was so much fun and then the main character was an absolute blast to give the reins to.

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

My husband and my alpha reader team. Both my husband and those beautiful women are my rock. They’ve given me the drive, confidence, and support to publish my first and every other book since. 

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

 I do! It’s normally around a release that I hear from them the most. It’s always the sweetest compliments and encouragement from all of them. I’m a very awkward person, but hearing from them puts a smile on my face every time. 

Favorite book when you were a kid?

A kid kid? Probably the Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen mystery books. As a teen it would have been Just Listen by Sarah Dessen.

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

Chaotic, clumsy, silly.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s, it will never look the same. You need to add in time for yourself and work within your limits or you’ll hit your burn out and after that it can be hard to find your love for writing again.

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

Each one is a part of me, yet none of them are the same. Some are the darker parts that I mostly keep hidden, others are the sweet, surface level stuff I show the world. The dark and light, the sweet and the sad, these books tell a story of me and who I was, who I am, and who I want to be.

 

Thank you S.A. Mackenzie for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her upcoming release, Possessing Greed today!

~Synopsis~

Nothing in this world is free. The sooner you realize that, the better.

As a woman in a man’s world, I have to work twice as hard to bring home half as much as my male counterparts. Time is money, and apparently having tits makes my time worth less.

Being a woman doesn’t stop me from out performing and destroying them all as the top corporate lawyer in my city. I’ve worked my ass off to be the best, so I can afford every luxury my heart desires. Diamonds? Check. Emeralds? Check. The sweet smell of a new leather purse dripping in 24-karat gold? Drool, and double check!

That is until a gorgeous man in a stunning suit rips it all away from me with a one-way ticket to Hell. As in, actual Hell. And that one-way ticket? A knife through my heart.

This demon is going to regret making me the Queen of Greed. Possessing Greed may have been my greatest sin, but it’s also going to be my strongest asset in the sparkling, frozen tundra of Hell’s first Circle.

Possessing Greed is a novel in the multi-author shared world, Sons of Satan. Be sure to read all seven books for a hellish good time! This book is for audiences 18 and over due to mature language and content. Possessing Greed is a reverse harem romantic stand-alone with an HEA.

S.A. Mackenzie is a Canadian why choose author that writes everything from contemporary to paranormal romance. S.A. loves all things spicy, from food to books. She spends her days chasing around her child as a stay at home mom and writing. Her evenings are spent with her big, bearded husband watching movies and playing video games.

Author Links: https://linktr.ee/samackenzieauthor

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Interview with an Author featuring Angelina J. Steffort

The Literary Vixen presents…

Welcoming back, Angelina J. Steffort! Her upcoming release, The Quarter Mage is set to release August 31st 2022.

How do you handle writer’s block?

Honestly, I rarely run into writer’s block. Usually my characters are quite chatty throughout the writing process. My life is determined by family life, so I have natural breaks during writing that allow me to come up with the next plot point or the next book idea. I consider myself lucky to be surrounded by a team of wonderful creatives to bounce ideas off if needed. That helps in some of the cases when I reach a fork in the road and need to decide which way to go with a story.

What inspired you to write The Quarter Mage?

The idea for The Quarter Mage has been brewing for over 3 years. I commissioned the covers for the entire series in 2020, the map in 2021, and have been anxiously waiting to fill the world with life.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

I sincerely believe that there is no one right answer to this question. While craft is important, craft is nothing without the ability to create intriguing worlds and settings. Adorable characters are nothing without proper plot and clean prose. From a writing perspective, I can only say what I find most enjoyable, and that highly depends on the day and the mood. Sometimes I will obsess about grammar and sentence structures, on other days I will question every plot point and story line, and there will be days where I simply hang out with my characters and let them chat. So what is important depends on the phase in the process of creating a book. 

From a reader’s perspective, the characters are what hooks me first.

What comes first, the plot or characters?

In my books, usually the book title, then a premise. Once I have those, the characters spring to life on their own.

How do you develop your plot and characters?

In a lot of cases, I don’t have the characters ready when I write the first sentence. They simply awaken word by word. The same is true for the plot. As a pantser I write into the dark and follow where the characters lead. The Quarter Mage was the first book I had thoroughly plotted before starting. But it pantsed me from the first line—and the outcome is so much better than the intended version. I guess, I learned my lesson.

How do you come up with the titles to your books?

The book titles are usually what comes first, long before I ever think up a character or a potential plot. Usually, they just pop up in my head while I’m trying to focus on finishing a book. I have a list of over forty titles that are waiting to be written.

Do you find it more challenging to write the first book in a series or to write the subsequent novels?

Over the past six years I’ve written twenty-three books in five different series, and I still can’t tell you what terrifies me more, a first in a series, the sequels, or finishing up the last in a series. Each has its perks and its daunting properties. The Quarter Mage as a first in a series was difficult for me, since it pantsed me from line one. Now I’m dreading what The Hour Mage and the other two in the series have in store for me.

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

There’s so much I’m learning on a daily basis. What surprised me was that this is something I can see myself doing when I’m 92.

Describe your perfect book hero or heroine.

The best heroes or heroines are unexpected ones.

What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?

Know your genre and what readers love. Don’t worry about a perfect first draft. You can do revisions later, and that’s why authors work with experienced editors. If you want to write a book—really write one and not just dream about it—sit down and write. It’s not going to write itself.

 

Thank you Angelina J. Steffort for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her upcoming release, The Quarter Mage today!

~Synopsis~

Perfect for fans of A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas and The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.

WHEN DESTINY FAILS YOU, WHO WILL YOU BECOME?

A forgotten princess. A cruel realm. A Mage who might be her salvation.

Sanja is a princess on the run. And when she flees her father’s court to escape an arranged marriage to a tyrant, the one thing she doesn’t expect, is to be killed for her throne.

But magic that shouldn’t exist in her kingdom saves her, and Sanja is thrust into the daunting fairylands where, as a human, she’s prey…

Fighting to survive, Sanja signs herself into the service of the most powerful Mages in the fairylands, determined to master the magic to save her kingdom—and finds herself stuck with a brooding Mage with a knack for keeping secrets.

As Sanja’s feelings for Tristan turn from dread to attraction, she learns that she isn’t the only thing the fairies are after. And Sanja must risk her life and her heart, or she will lose both him and her kingdom forever.

Dive into Angelina J. Steffort’s latest heart-wrenching upper YA fantasy romance and find out what makes the world of The Quarter Mage so special.

“Chocolate fanatic, milk-foam enthusiast and huge friend of the southern sting-ray. Writing is an unexpected career-path for me.”

Angelina J. Steffort is an Austrian novelist, best known for her Wings series, a young adult paranormal romance series about the impossible love between a girl and an angel. The bestselling Wings series has been ranked among calibers such as the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, and Lauren Kate’s Fallen, and has been top listed among angel books for teens by bloggers and readers. Her young adult epic fantasy series Shattered Kingdom is already being compared to Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series by readers and fans. Angelina has multiple educational backgrounds including engineering, business, music, and acting, and lives in Vienna, Austria with her husband and her son.

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Cover Reveal for She Conquers by Caitlin Denman

 Cover reveal for She Conquers by Caitlin Denman!

Cover Artist: @darkwishdesigns

Releasing on June 14th 2022!

~Synopsis~

Her new powers have risen but can she conquer them in time to take on Henrik and become the reigning Fae queen?

Attina’s new powers have risen since her Awakening. Now she must battle to conquer them and call them at will. Can she master her powers and defeat Henrik in time to take the throne which is rightfully hers?

Hazel, a strange and mysterious companion shows up to help Allister and Attina dive into the past. They soon figure out, the only way to see their future is to face the hidden darkness of the past.

As Attina’s powers unveil themselves, she finds some hidden wounds difficult to overcome. She quickly learns not all injuries are skin deep. She realizes sometimes the invisible scars are the ones which change us the most. And not always for the better.

The group decides to make their way to the Eastern Fae. When they finally reach them, Attina finds out not everything is what it seems. Secrets are uncovered and battle lines are drawn.

Where you can preorder: https://books2read.com/u/4NjRBG

 

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The Golden Couple: A Novel by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen – My Review

Title: The Golden Couple: A Novel

Author: Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Release Date: March 8th 2022

Genre: Domestic Thrillers

Wealthy Washington suburbanites Marissa and Matthew Bishop seem to have it all—until Marissa is unfaithful. Beneath their veneer of perfection is a relationship riven by work and a lack of intimacy. She wants to repair things for the sake of their eight-year-old son and because she loves her husband. Enter Avery Chambers.

Avery is a therapist who lost her professional license. Still, it doesn’t stop her from counseling those in crisis, though they have to adhere to her unorthodox methods. And the Bishops are desperate.
When they glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.

You’ve seen those couples. You know which ones I’m talking about. The ones who have the perfect life. Or so it seems…..

I never really know what to expect when I pick up a Hendricks/Pekkanen book. I was intrigued by the description and was excited to dive in. The story begins and you meet the characters. Right off the bat, I don’t like any of them. I know I’m supposed to feel that way but I couldn’t help feeling irked. Yet it’s not enough to turn me off from the book. More like, let’s see where this is going. The story unravels lots of suspense and turns. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, it’s a dead end. LOVED THAT! What an ending! Totally satisfying. It felt like the sun came out after being hidden by the clouds. Very nice.

This is a great read! You have suspense and that thrilling feeling like something bad is going to happen but you’ll get all your answers. I highly recommend this book! I give it 4 stars.

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

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Interview with an Author Featuring Shae Coon

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Shae Coon! Her latest release, Her Broken Pieces (Marron House Romance Series Book 4) will release on December 26th 2021.

What inspired you to start writing?

I had all these movie-like scenes playing in my head, and I just decided to write them down. Then one day, I said, “what the hell,” and started putting together my 1st book from the remnants of scratch paper with my thoughts written down.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I don’t plot! I get an idea and just let my fingers fly. The scene may change a million times, but I just keep writing.

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

Honestly? I don’t. I let myself feel sadness, joyfulness, or frustration. If I try to control it or suppress it, then when the words start to flow, they will fall flat. I have to feel so that my characters can.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

Five total. For His Own Protection has become my favorite. I love a badass woman with a heart of gold and a smart-ass mouth.

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

None. Ouch, I know. But again, I play the scene in my head, and as I build the scene, the world begins to develop.

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

I hear from readers a lot. They are my sounding board and my saving grace. So far, they love the books. They are completely honest with me and tell me if they feel something could have been done better or offer up storylines they would like to see me write.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

The Enigma by Jodi Ellen Malpas. She is one that got me hooked on dark romance all those years ago.

Describe yourself in three words.

Loyal, fierce, stubborn

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?

Andrew Biernat as Caleb Marron, most definitely. For the female lead, Talia Stone, that would be hard to say. She would need to be a fierce CEO type, with demons that keep her a bit unsure of herself.

What advice would you give to other authors?

As a very wise woman (https://www.instagram.com/me_myself_and_romance_books/) once screamed at me, “HASHTAGS.” It’s insane how important those little things are in marketing your work.

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

Each book has a bit of my life or the history of my ancestry in it. Which parts? You’ll never know.

 

Thank you Shae Coon for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out and preorder her newest release, Her Broken Pieces today!

~Synopsis~

Gerry

Five years ago, Jax Townsend saved me from a fate worse than death. I was sold to a prince by a man who claimed to love me, then tortured and enslaved by another. That’s why I decided if that was love, then I wanted no part in it.
Now, I work for Marron House Security. Hired by the same man who shot a Sheikh to save me. The same man that haunts my dreams with the promise of a happily ever after. Jax sees my broken pieces, and it scares me. Because for all he sees, I see more.
I see his desire for me, and it heats my blood with untold need. I hide my body’s reaction to his innocent touches. I’ve never desired a man the way I desire Jax Townsend, but if I allow myself to embrace this passion, then I allow him a piece of my heart. And I just can’t do that.

Jax

She carved her name into my heart the moment our eyes locked five years ago on that yacht belonging to a prince. I killed for her, then left her in the hands of my best friend’s mother and went back to fight another battle.
Now, I’m co-founder of Marron House Security, and I’ve hired Gerry as our office manager. Her bright smiles and scent of wildflowers have me fantasizing about all sorts of naughty, after-hours escapades.
I want Gerry. Body, soul, but above all else…heart. And that’s the shit of it all. Because Gerry doesn’t believe love comes without cruelity, and I’m not sure I’m enough to prove her wrong.

I am a native Texan, wife, and mother. I started writing soon after my daughter was born in 2012 but only recently decided to publish my work. I hadn’t been into any particular genre until I took on a well-known romance title and fell in love.

Since then, different scenes have played out in my head, and I couldn’t help but jot down my ideas with any available scrap of paper. I never thought I would actually take the leap to put my work out there for all to see. It took me four years to finish my first manuscript because I kept putting it down and picking it back up. But with the support of family and friends, I finished it and am now able to live my dream of taking others to a world of seduction and romance through my writing.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shae.coonauthor/

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

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Shae-Coon/e/B09582JXSK/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/shae-coon

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20973171.Shae_Coon

TikTok: https://shaecoon.com/https://www.tiktok.com/@shaecoon_author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CoonShae

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The Sky Above Us by Natalie Lund – My Review

Title: The Sky Above Us

Author: Natalie Lund

Release Date: April 13th 2021

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

From the author of We Speak in Storms comes a twisty, psychological thriller about three friends searching for the truth in the aftermath of a plane crash.

The morning after their senior year beach party, Izzy, Cass, and Janie are woken by a thundering overhead. Then they and their classmates watch in shock as a plane crashes into the water. When the passengers are finally recovered, they are identified as Izzy’s twin brother, Israel, Cass’s ex-boyfriend, Shane, and Janie’s best friend, Nate. But Izzy can feel when her brother is in pain, and she knows he’s not really dead. So she, Cass, and Janie set out to discover what actually happened that day–and why the boys were on the plane.

Told in alternating timelines and points of view, this powerful and captivating novel follows the three boys in the weeks leading up to that fateful flight, and the girls they left behind as they try to piece together the truth about the boys they loved and thought they knew. A spellbinding story about the ripple effects of tragedy, the questions we leave unanswered, and the enduring power of friendship.

Loss. Grief. 

It’s never easy losing a loved one. The pain that comes from the emptiness you feel, is very hard to bear. Three deaths. No answers.

I was not expecting such a heavy story. I didn’t feel like this story was a thriller. A lot happens within each person’s life and we get a peek into what each person is dealing with. The choices they make/made and how they affected everyone around them. Mental illness is mentioned and I liked that. Too many shy away from that topic but it is a real thing affecting many people every day. While I enjoyed the story, I felt like there was too much going on. Too many characters. I didn’t connect with many of them. 

This is a good YA story and while I expected a thriller, I got a different kind of story and I enjoyed it. This is my first Natalie Lund book and I enjoyed her writing. I will look for more works by her. I give this 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars.

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

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After All I’ve Done by Mina Hardy – My Review

Title: After All I’ve Done: A Novel

Author: Mina Hardy

Release Date: November 10th 2020

Genre: Psychological Thrillers

Writing as Mina Hardy, New York Times bestselling author Megan Hart delivers a thrilling new psychological suspense for fans of The Woman in the Window and When the Lights Go Out.

She’s lost her best friend, her husband–and possibly, her mind.

Five months ago, an accident left Diana Sparrow badly injured and missing a few months of her memory. As if that’s not enough, she’s started having recurring nightmares about the night of the accident. Dreams that feel so real, she’s left questioning: maybe she didn’t just slide off the road into a ditch. Maybe, just maybe, she hit something. Or someone.

She can’t turn to her former best friend Val, who’s been sleeping with Diana’s husband Jonathan for months, but she might find some comfort in newcomer Cole Pelham. Yet the closer they become, the more Diana begins to wonder what really happened that night–and how Cole might be connected. Worse, it seems everyone else could be involved, too.

Who was with her that night? What really happened? As her life unravels thread by thread and the dreams become too real to ignore, Diana will have to face the unthinkable–and do the unforgivable.

After All I’ve Done is a fast paced thriller that will have your heart racing and rapidly turning those pages! 

Right from the start, the story had me in its clutches. It didn’t let go till the very end. This book is one crazy ride and I was there for it! There are many questions about what had happened to Diana. As the story went on, I found myself not liking any of the characters. They were all bad people and some were more irritating than others. This might be weird to say but it didn’t take away from the story. In fact, it enhanced the story and the mystery in solving what happened that night. Towards the end, there was an urgency to find out how all the pieces fit and boy was I surprised! That was one twist I did not see coming. Very nice Miss Hardy. 

This is a fantastic and thrilling read! It’s entertaining and an ending you won’t see coming. I can promise you that. The cover is very eye catching and pretty. I know this author is using a different pen name and I hope she continues to write more of these types of books. I look forward to reading more by Miss Hardy. I give this 5 stars.

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

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Interview with an Author Featuring Ally Vance

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Ally Vance! Her upcoming release, Wicked Dreams (The Reveries Duet Book 1) will release on October 27th 2020.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was about 8 I got hooked on reading and wrote my very first story, but I was about 13 when I knew for sure that’s what I wanted to be.

What about the horror genre interests you?

The freedom of it and the lack of limitations when it comes to writing and reading it. I expect to be scared or horrified and I love how it pushes all of the boundaries.

What was the first horror/story you remember reading?

I think it was Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan

Do you ever come up with anything so wild that you scare yourself, that leaves you wondering where that came from?

There have been a few moments for sure when writing when I’ve felt that way.

Do you have a favorite character that you have written? If so who? And what makes them so special.

I love most of my characters but one of my current favourites is Maia from Mutatus (Carnaval Des Ténèbres #3). There is a lot that makes her special, but I think her strength and love for those around her stands out, as well as the fact that had Yolanda Olson not asked me to join the collaborative series she wouldn’t exist.

Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas?

Occasionally I’ve done research to help with character development and get details on real events/legends.

Do you look to your own phobias to find subject matter? Are your stories the products of nightmares, childhood experiences, fantasies?

I have occasionally used my own experiences to write with, but not all. I have never written about one of my phobias, but that doesn’t mean I won’t someday.

What is one stereotype about horror authors is absolutely wrong? What one stereotype is dead on?

It’s wrong that we are all as scary as our writing, but it’s true that we are all serial killers; no fictional character is safe from us!

Do you have any fun Halloween experiences you can share with us?

I went to a Halloween party one year as a vampire with my boyfriend (now husband) and he went as a vampire too while his brother was a devil. I jokingly offered to mix glitter in with the white face paint so he could go as Edward Cullen, he found this less funny than me and his brother did.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Keep writing and don’t stop, and don’t let others control your creativity whether it’s other authors or readers, as you’re writing for you not them.

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

I’m not afraid to rip your hearts out and no character is safe when I’m at the keyboard.

Thank you Ally Vance for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Pre-order her newest release, Wicked Dreams today!

~Synopsis~

Even the most vile of nightmares are born from the sweetest of dreams.

Miles tempts me in a way no other has before; he’s no idea of the truth that lurks behind the handsome face of his dream lover. I’ll bide my time until I’m ready to reveal myself. Only when Miles is weak, compliant, and willing to sign his soul over to me, will I show him exactly who and what he’s given himself to.

I’m not often tempted to cross the boundaries and physically enter this world. When I do I feast until I’ve had my fill, extracting every delicious morsel of my lover’s pleasure and pain as I bend them to my will. I know what will happen if I manifest in their reality, what they’ll see…

Nightmares are just the blurred lines between dreams and reality. Sooner or later your demons are going to get you.

Warning: Contains graphic scenes of sexual violence and sexual situations not suitable for readers under the age of 18. Contains scenes featuring M/M & M/F couples. Cliffhanger ending no HEA.

Ally is an International Bestselling Author who writes in the Dark Romance & Horror genres. Ally has been writing since she was a teenager, and it had been a long time dream of hers to finally become a published author. Ally also co-writes with her close friend Michelle under the pen name Ally Michelle. Ally lives in Kent, in the United Kingdom with her husband, stepson and two cats.

FB Page: http://bit.ly/AllyVanceFB 

Horror Reader Group: https://bit.ly/TheDarkVault 

Dark Romance Reader Group: http://bit.ly/MayhemHearts 

IG: http://bit.ly/AllyVanceInsta 

Amazon: http://bit.ly/AllyVanceAmzn 

GR: http://bit.ly/AllyVanceGRs 

BB: http://bit.ly/AllyVanceBookBub 

NL: https://bit.ly/AllyVanceNewsletter

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Plain Bad Heroines: A Novel by Emily Danforth – My Review

Title: Plain Bad Heroines: A Novel

Author: Emily Danforth

Release Date: October 20th 2020

Genre: LGBT Fiction, Satire

“Full of Victorian sapphic romance, metafictional horror, biting misandrist humor, Hollywood intrigue, and multiple timeliness—all replete with evocative illustrations that are icing on a deviously delicious cake.” –OTHE OPRAH MAGAZINE

“Brimming from start to finish with sly humor and gothic mischief. Brilliant.”  — SARAH WATERS

Named a Most Anticipated Book by O, The Oprah Magazine • Vulture • Parade • Popsugar • Bustle • GoodReads • Autostraddle • Literary Hub • and more!

The award-winning author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post makes her adult debut with this highly imaginative and original horror-comedy centered around a cursed New England boarding school for girls—a wickedly whimsical celebration of the art of storytelling, sapphic love, and the rebellious female spirit

Our story begins in 1902, at the Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it the Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them, the victims of a swarm of stinging, angry yellow jackets. Less than five years later, the Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way.

Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer Merritt Emmons publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded Age institution. Her bestselling book inspires a controversial horror film adaptation starring celebrity actor and lesbian it girl Harper Harper playing the ill-fated heroine Flo, oppo­site B-list actress and former child star Audrey Wells as Clara. But as Brookhants opens its gates once again, and our three modern her­oines arrive on set to begin filming, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins.

A story within a story within a story and featuring black-and-white period-inspired illustrations, Plain Bad Heroines is a devilishly haunting, modern masterwork of metafiction that manages to combine the ghostly sensibility of Sarah Waters with the dark imagination of Marisha Pessl and the sharp humor and incisive social commentary of Curtis Sittenfeld into one laugh-out-loud funny, spellbinding, and wonderfully luxuriant read.

What a strange and interesting read! Very entertaining. Very witty. 

A mash of the past and present. Surrounding a book. A curse or something more sinister? 

I enjoyed reading the chapters that were set in the past. Just something about it caught my interest a bit more than the chapters set in the present. I think it was the combination of the era it was presented in and the added myth surrounding Brookhants. Is it bad that I wanted to visit a place like that? Yes I’m a weirdo. At times the book seemed to lag in some places and I struggled to get past them. The characters from the present chapters were pretty good. I did like Harper right away. Merritt and Audrey took some time but I eventually came around. The whole book has a creepy vibe which I was digging. I do feel like having a book within a book was a huge task and due to that fact, the book was a bit too long. 

As a whole, this is an okay read. I wanted to like it more than I did. I felt let down in a way. You’re expecting something big to happen and kind of give you closure and it didn’t happen. I didn’t get any horror vibes from this book. More suspense. This is a long read. It didn’t bother me too much but some parts I felt could have been left out. The cover is beautiful. I loved that it had a diverse group of LGBT characters. I give this 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars.

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

Author Spotlight · Coming Soon · Interview with an Author · Pre-Order

Interview with an Author Featuring Melissa Sercia

The Literary Vixen presents…

 

Joining us today is Melissa Sercia! Her upcoming release, After I Fall (Immortal Billionaires Book 1) is releasing on November 3rd 2020.

What inspired you to start writing?

I started writing poetry and short stories when I was about nine years old. I loved reading and had a very vivid imagination. As I got older, I got into screenplays and songwriting too. It was around my 35th birthday that the idea for Blood and Magic came to me and I really felt ready to write a full length novel. I played around with it for a couple years then made the decision to become a full time author in 2016. In 2017 I signed with City Owl Press and the rest is history!

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I don’t know if it’s a quirk, but before I can start writing a new novel, I have to create a music playlist for it. Music helps me get into the tone and mood of the story.

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

A lot of times I have to dig really deep when I put myself in the character’s head. It can be emotionally draining but as soon as I’m done writing the scene, I shake it off. I actually cried when I wrote the ending to Gods and Demons (Blood and Darkness Book 3). It was very bittersweet.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I have written six books so far. Four are published, and two are with my editors awaiting publication. It’s hard to pick favorites because each book has such a special place in my heart. But I will say that Flesh and Bone (Blood and Darkness Book 2) was my favorite to write. It flowed out of me so easily in just two months. It also allowed me to explore a darker side to my main character, Gray. I had a lot of fun with that book.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

The first book I ever read that impacted me emotionally was Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Even though there weren’t any paranormal elements in it, it still had some very dark themes and tortured characters. That has definitely influenced my writing. 

The biggest influences have also been the entire Vampire Chronicles series by Anne Rice, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, V.C. Andrews, and Stephen King.

Currently, I have been inspired by Sarah J Maas, Erin Morgenstern, Marissa Meyer, and Patricia Briggs.

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

I do! I will usually get comments on my Instagram or facebook page when someone has found my books and enjoyed them. I also get emails from time to time commenting on my newsletter or inviting me to speak at a workshop or online library events.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

On my bedside table right now is a fabulous YA book called Slay by Brittney Morris

Do you have any new series planned?

I do! I am working on a new series called Immortal Billionaires. It’s a steamy paranormal romance series consisting of three (there may be a fourth) standalone novels that are connected by the same world. Book 1 in that series will be releasing at the end of October.

After that, I will be finishing up my Beautiful Dark Beasts series: Spark and Ember releases in February, then Starlight and Dust will be the conclusion of Arya’s journey and will most likely be releasing toward the end of 2021. Then I’m working on two new urban fantasy series, a Southern Gothic stand alone, and a prequel to Blood and Magic.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?

If Blood and Magic were made into a movie I definitely would want Katie McGrath to play Gray, Charlie Hunnam to play Aldric, Jason Momoa to play Seven, and Alexander Dreymon to play Dragos.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Learn your craft and establish a routine. I read a ton of craft books and attend online writing workshops all the time. No matter how many books you write, there are still things to learn and grow from. And establishing a regular writing routine will help you stay focused. Even if you can only spend an hour a day. Make sure you protect that writing time. As far as publishing goes, don’t give up. There are several paths to publishing and all of them are valid and rewarding. I’m with a small press, but I will also be self publishing a series this year, and next year I will be looking for an agent with another series. Find out which path is right for you and don’t let anything discourage you from your goals.

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

In a nutshell, I’m a storyteller. I know that life and reality can be difficult and stressful so I enjoy creating fantasy worlds for my readers to escape to. I care passionately about my readers and hope that they love reading my books as much as I love writing them. My books are dark but also hopeful and I’m obsessed with history and mythology so you will definitely see those influences in my stories. In the future, I would like to expand upon my Blood and Darkness/Beautiful Dark Beasts universe with more spinoffs, prequels, and side stories. And possibly even a graphic novel! Lots of exciting things to come!

 

Thank you Melissa Sercia for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her upcoming release, After I Fall today!

~Synopsis~

A darkness is coming for her heart, but it might be the only thing that can set her free…

Raven
I have nothing left. The man I thought I’d spend forever with is gone and I’m alone…until I meet him. Ozi. My new boss. He’s sexy, mysterious, and owns me with just one look. But he’s used to getting what he wants. And that makes him dangerous.

Ozi
I’m rich, immortal, and alone. And I like it that way. Until I meet her. I should stay away from Raven. But I can’t. Every time she’s near, I want to taste her blood in my veins and feel her body in my bed. I want to own her and destroy her. To break her and then put her back together with my bare hands. But I know I will be the one broken in the end.

Raven and Ozi have sworn off love, but when their paths cross, the chemistry between them is undeniable. Drawn to each other’s dark sides, they can’t seem to stay away. But when Ozi’s ex comes back into town to settle an old score, the odds shift and the danger becomes real, pitting Raven in the middle. Now Ozi must decide what he’s willing to risk to protect Raven from the threat of his past coming back to haunt him. Her safety or his heart.

When lust turns into obsession, can it ever become love?

This is a standalone book in the Immortal Billionaires series.

WARNING: This book contains graphic content and is meant for 18+ readers only

Melissa Sercia is an award winning Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance author with a passion for philosophy, mythology, and all things supernatural. She is the author of the Blood and Darkness series, Beautiful Dark Beasts series, and Immortal Billionaires series. Melissa lives in California with her man and her cat. When she’s not building dark fantasy worlds and slaying demons, you can find her in the kitchen cooking with a glass of wine in her hand.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/melissasercia11

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/melissaserciawrites

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/fluidghost

Website: https://melissasercia.com