Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author featuring Rob Samborn

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Rob Samborn! His debut novel, The Prisoner of Paradise: A Dual-Timeline Thriller Set in Venice (Painted Souls Book 1) released on November 30th 2021.

How long have you been writing?

Like many authors, I’ve been writing stories since I was a kid, but professionally (or with professional aspirations), for about twenty years. My professional writing training and education is in screenwriting. I’ve written nine feature scripts, as well as some TV pilots, shorts and work-for-hire projects. I’m also a script doctor. Though I still work on screenplays, I transitioned to novels about seven years ago.

Describe a typical writing day.

This has changed considerably since the release of my first book, The Prisoner of Paradise, in Nov. 2021. My second book, Painter of the Damned, releases on Oct. 25, 2022. Nowadays, beyond my day job, about 80% of my writing day is filled up with book marketing and promotion activities, as well as editing and/or prep for my next release. I often don’t start on actual writing until 9:00 at night!

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

For all my book and script ideas, I get inspiration from everywhere. It could be a real event or person, something I see, a theme, or ideas that pop into my head for characters or plot. I have a list of over 100 different story ideas.

For my current books, which are a series, they’re all inspired by the same idea. I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of soul mates—the connection between two people that goes beyond physical attraction or shared interests, etc. And this doesn’t need to be between people who are romantically involved. It can definitely be felt between friends. Oftentimes, it’s an immediate, unexplainable connection. I’ve always wanted to explore that theme in a story.

On a trip to Venice, I was captivated with paintings by a Renaissance master named Jacopo Tintoretto. Many of his paintings are massive in scale, and includes dozens, and sometimes, hundreds of people. The paintings of these people are portraits in their own right and the people run the gamut in terms of race, gender, age, social class, etc. I started wondering where he got his inspiration from. Of course, artists use models, but he would’ve had a line of people out his door.

All of these people have truly been immortalized. They’re still there, plain as day, hanging on a museum wall.

From there, I married this concept of immortalization through art with my fascination with soul mates. I thought, maybe it’s their souls that are captured in the paintings. And a story was born…

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

I want readers to be captivated with the characters and go on what is often a heart-wrenching journey. I want them to have a thrilling escape while they’re reading, but there’s also a decent amount of history and art, so if people learn something, I’d love that, as well. And as a take away, I hope they want to read the next book!

What is the significance of the title?

The Prisoner of Paradise actually has different meanings and people will need to read the book to find out. However, the obvious significance is that it revolves around Tintoretto’s Paradise, the world’s largest oil painting. This real-life painting has hundreds of people in it. In my book, one of these people is a woman whose soul has been imprisoned in the two-dimensional canvas as a purgatory of sorts.

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

A huge amount. Though my book takes place in the real world in real places, not everybody is familiar with Venice, Italy. So, it was very important for me to not only establish that world but continue building it as the story goes. It also takes place in the present and 16th century, so I need to build the 16th century world.

What was the highlight of writing this book?

There are obvious career highlights – getting an agent, signing with the publisher, release of the book. Post release, whenever someone says they love my book, that’s a highlight that never gets old. And during the writing process, I love writing a scene and then when I reread it, I know it’s something special.

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

I’m currently working on the third book in the series, which will be released in 2023.

What advice would you give to other authors?

For aspiring authors who haven’t been published yet, my advice is to never stop learning your craft, never stop reading, and never stop learning about the industry. Writers need to realize and accept this is a business. You’re creating a product to sell in a marketplace.

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

That my books are escapist thrill rides set in the real world. If you love thrillers or historical mysteries and want to go on a journey unlike any you’ve read or seen, I think you’ll love my books.

 

Thank you Rob Samborn for chatting with me! I will include his information down below. Check out The Prisoner of Paradise today!

~Synopsis~

A disembodied whisper.
A soul mate murdered in 1589.
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 a 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.

In addition to being a novelist, Rob Samborn is a screenwriter, entrepreneur and avid traveler. He’s been to forty countries, lived in five of them  and studied nine languages. As a restless spirit who can’t remember the last time he was bored, Rob is on a quest to explore the intricacies of our world and try his hand at a multitude of crafts; he’s also an accomplished artist and musician, as well as a budding furniture maker. A native New Yorker who lived in Los Angeles for twenty years, he now makes his home in Denver with his wife, daughter and dog.

Website: www.robsamborn.com 

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/RobSambornAuthor 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobSamborn 

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

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rob-samborn/  

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@robsamborn 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21829341.Rob_Samborn 

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rob-samborn

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author · New Release

Interview with an Author featuring S.L. Choi

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is S.L. Choi! Her debut book, Bad Girls Drink Blood (Blood Fae Druid Book 1) released on May 17th 2022.

Congrats on your new release! How has the new release been going for you?

Thank you! And thank you so much for all of your support. How has it been going? CRAZY!!! Everyone warned me, but I was not prepared lol

How long have you been writing?

I’m sure everyone says this, but as far back as I can remember. I wrote poetry when I was younger. A LOT of poetry. Teens are just a giant ball of emotions. They feel everything so intensely, and poetry was my outlet.

I’ve always written little bits of stories here and there, but I didn’t try to take an idea from start to finish until the last few years.

Describe a typical writing day.

Wake up. Tend to my furry overlords. Drink coffee. Stare at the computer. Drink more coffee.  It sounds like I’m making a joke, but that is pretty much my day. Though, I am typing/editing/working social media during the staring phase.

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

Another cliché answer, but everywhere! This book was a line that popped into my head while driving down the road.

Now that I think about it, a lot of my ideas come to me while I’m driving – aka the worst possible time! I’ve pulled over so many times to ensure I didn’t lose an idea.

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

I wish I had a deep, thought-provoking statement to give you, but really, I just want my readers to feel compelled to turn the pages and have a great time. 

WAIT! I take that back. The thing I love about urban fantasy (and my favorite series) are the ones where I feel like I can drive to the location and find the characters, or at least find where they are hanging out. I’d love it if someone was driving down the Strip and said that’s where (censored for spoilers) would be.

What is the significance of the title?

The original title was darker, not at all the same vibe. My editor wanted a new title. Bad Guy by Billie Eilish screamed Lane, and even inspired a few (very obvious) lines. Lane sees herself as a bad girl/guy. Lane drinks blood. Bad Girls Drink Blood.

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

Sarcastic, awkward, self-deprecating.I said st 

I asked my critique partner because I was stumped and she gave me a whole (incorrect) list: talented, supportive, hilarious, dedicated, kind. Boy do I have her fooled!

What was the highlight of writing this book?

Finishing. Seriously. Not because I hated writing, but because it was such a sense of accomplishment. I DO have another finished book, but this one had been living in my head for a long, long time.

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

I’m working on the edits for book 2 of the Blood Fae Druid series. I also have a book on the backburner about a messy Vakyrie (think Thor, Ragnarök inspo for vibes)

What advice would you give to other authors?

Find your people. Typically, the only company you keep are your characters when you’re deep into writing. I walk around everywhere talking to my characters, talking through scenes, testing dialogue. But your characters won’t be there to support you when rejections roll in, or reviews roll in, or critiques, or comments, or anything else that live in your head after you read it. 

Find. Your. Support.

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

Wooooowwwwww. This is hard for such a simple question. I think bottom line is I don’t take myself seriously (have you seen my TikTok? I can’t be bothered to put on makeup or even get out of my pjs). So, don’t try to take my book seriously either. Enjoy the ride!

 

Thank you S.L. Choi for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, Bad Girls Drink Blood today!

~Synopsis~

Part sun fae, part blood fae, all abomination.

After a life spent dodging slurs, threats, and assassination attempts, Lane Callaghan gave her past the one finger salute and ditched her former fae home for good.

The detective agency she and her sisters run on the edge of Las Vegas continues to limp along, with Lane doing more debt collecting and intimidating than investigating, but anything to pay the bills. Between working for low-lifes to bring down even lower-lifes, eating cheesy poofs by the bucket, and flirting with the criminally attractive bartender where she conducts business, life is good.

That ends when a routine job goes sideways leaving Lane with a sack full of stolen sun shards—the source of sun fae power. Without the shards, the sun fae face giving up their magic completely, or risk death if they use their power.

As far as Lane’s concerned, good riddance, considering they would rather see her dead—except her father and adopted sister are sun fae. Lane must choose to return home to save the fae bastards that almost killed her…or let them burn.

“With tantalizing hints of a wolfy blood tryst, a heavy dose of sisterly love, and plot twists to make the ride a surprise, S.L. Choi’s, Bad Girls Drink Blood is too much fun. If you like the Hollows, you will love this.” — Kim Harrison, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Hollows series.

S.L. Choi is an urban fantasy author with a deep love for humor, fast-paced action, and hit-you-in-the-heart feels. She grew up imagining goblins living in the rocks outside her bedroom window, while fairies flew through the flowers. Now she puts those stories to paper. When not writing, she is either photographing the beautiful New England area, hiking, gaming with her equally nerdy husband, or attending to the small furry overlords who rule them both.

https://linktr.ee/SLChoi

Review

End Game: A Valentine Wedding (Games we Play) by Lindsey Powell – My Review


Title: End Game: A Valentine Wedding (Games we Play)

Author: Lindsey Powell

Release Date: April 22nd 2022

Genre: Erotic Suspense

The underworld never sleeps, not even when there’s a wedding…

Joey and Paige.

King and Queen.

Meant to be.

And now they are about to make their union official.

A sprinkle of murder, a whole lot of steam, and A Valentine Wedding.

A Games We Play short story.

 

*It is advised to read Checkmate before End Game as it may enhance your reading experience if you do.*

This seductive short story is addicting and entertaining. Did I mention steamy? The chemistry between Paige and Joey is scorching. I’m surprised my fingers didn’t burn from kindle screen! *fans self*

I love that we got to read about their wedding. It’s truly not a Valentine story without some murder and revenge.

If you haven’t read any of the books in this series, do yourself a favor and read them today! It’s got everything my little black heart desires. Action, revenge, strong women and the alpha men who love them. I can’t wait to see what comes next from Miss Powell. I give this 5 stars.

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

Review

No One Will Miss Her: A Novel by Kat Rosenfield – My Review


Title: No One Will Miss Her: A Novel

Author: Kat Rosenfield

Release Date: October 12th 2021

Genre: Thrillers, Psychological

A smart, witty, crackling novel of psychological suspense in which a girl from a hardscrabble small town meets a gorgeous Instagram influencer from the big city, with a murderous twist that will shock even the most savvy reader.

On a beautiful October morning in rural Maine, a homicide investigator from the state police pulls into the hard-luck town of Copper Falls. The local junkyard is burning, and the town pariah Lizzie Oullette is dead—with her husband, Dwayne, nowhere to be found. As scandal ripples through the community, Detective Ian Bird’s inquiries unexpectedly lead him away from small-town Maine to a swank city townhouse several hours south. Adrienne Richards, blonde and fabulous social media influencer and wife of a disgraced billionaire, had been renting Lizzie’s tiny lake house as a country getaway…even though Copper Falls is anything but a resort town.

As Adrienne’s connection to the case becomes clear, so too does her connection to Lizzie, who narrates their story from beyond the grave. Each woman is desperately lonely in her own way, and they navigate a relationship that cuts across class boundaries: transactional, complicated, and, finally, deadly. A Gone Girl for the gig economy, this is a story of privilege, identity, and cunning, as two devious women from opposite worlds discover the dangers of coveting someone else’s life.

After I finished this book, I gave myself some time to think on both the story and my feelings. My feelings were all over the place! Let’s start with with story. This story had lots of twists and turns. Some unexpected and some I saw coming. The whole story had a dark vibe to it. Which I really liked. The characters are not very likable. Which wasn’t a bad thing. I did have trouble believing some of the actions and scenes that played out. Especially for the main character. It just wasn’t realistic. Yes, I know this story is fiction. Read the story to know what I mean! I think that’s why my feelings were all over the place. While I enjoyed the story, those twists made me feel some type of way. The story is well written. Very detailed. I really liked that ending though! 

Over all, this is a pretty entertaining read with lots of twists. This is a new to me author and I look forward to reading another book from her. I give this 3 stars. 

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

Review

Wrecking Ball by Lindsey Powell – My Review


Title: Wrecking Ball

Author: Lindsey Powell

Release Date: November 21st 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Suspense

He’s a Crime Lord.
I’m just a small business owner.
I shouldn’t even be on his radar… But I am.
And now I’m being forced to make the biggest decision of my life. Marry him or die. Quite a choice, huh?
Clearly, there isn’t one, and as I become the wife of the notorious and ruthless leader, Nate Knowles, I have to prepare myself for what is to come.
He says he wants to break me.
He says he wants to own me.
And I have to be smart if I’m ever going to get out alive…

Wrecking Ball is a stand-alone romance with darker elements.

This book got its claws into me and didn’t let go. Even after I was done. Holy heck! The story is addicting and a total guilty pleasure read. Although I didn’t feel guilty when I was reading it! Miss Powell has a gift for writing those strong couples. You know the ones right? A strong woman. A man who knows what he wants. The push and pull and when they finally come together, it’s like fireworks! Oh yes!

I find a new favorite couple every time I read one of her books. If you love romance with hints of darkness, this book is for you! Add it to your TBR! I give it 5 stars.

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

New Release · Release Blitz

The Shadow’s Heir (The Cursed Queens Book 2) by E.E. Hornburg – New Release

The Shadow’s Heir (The Cursed Queens Book 2) by E.E. Hornburg is now available!

~Synopsis~

Myra has spent years hiding—in servitude of the now imprisoned Queen Amelia, and from a lineage she never wanted.

Now that she is freed from Amelia’s clutches, Myra is ready for a new start, but the echoes of the past, and the truth of who she is—a direct descendant of Stula, the goddess of death—will only disrupt the peace she wants to find in the kingdom of Oxare.

The kingdom is beautiful, as is the handsome prince Alvis and though his offer to join him at the Golden Palace is tempting, Myra is determined to make her own way.

But when a life on her own becomes too difficult, Myra is forced to accept Alvis’ offer and lands in the thick of a plot to free Queen Amelia. To keep the entire realm and her people safe, Myra and Alvis must find out who among the Golden Palace court is the betrayer before Amelia escapes.

But with each passing day Myra feels her connection to Alvis growing stronger, and her past continues to haunt her. Can they protect the kingdom and each other, before Amelia takes her revenge and Alvis finds out the truth?

Fans of Sarah J Maas, Hannah Whitten, and Emma Hamm will love this magical Cinderella retelling and follow up to The Night’s Chosen!


New Release · Release Blitz

Bad Girls Drink Blood (Blood Fae Druid Book 1) by S.L. Choi – New Release

Bad Girls Drink Blood (Blood Fae Druid Book 1) by S.L. Choi is now available!

~Synopsis~

Part sun fae, part blood fae, all abomination.

After a life spent dodging slurs, threats, and assassination attempts, Lane Callaghan gave her past the one finger salute and ditched her former fae home for good.

The detective agency she and her sisters run on the edge of Las Vegas continues to limp along, with Lane doing more debt collecting and intimidating than investigating, but anything to pay the bills. Between working for low-lifes to bring down even lower-lifes, eating cheesy poofs by the bucket, and flirting with the criminally attractive bartender where she conducts business, life is good.

That ends when a routine job goes sideways leaving Lane with a sack full of stolen sun shards—the source of sun fae power. Without the shards, the sun fae face giving up their magic completely, or risk death if they use their power.

As far as Lane’s concerned, good riddance, considering they would rather see her dead—except her father and adopted sister are sun fae. Lane must choose to return home to save the fae bastards that almost killed her…or let them burn.

New Release · Release Blitz

Holtondome (Timeless Keeper Saga Book 1) by Ryan Southwick – New Release

Holtondome (Timeless Keeper Saga Book 1) by Ryan Southwick is now available!

~Synopsis~

Seg Holton yearns to leave his isolated farming dome and travel the ravaged Earth, or even to Mars Colony. Only a few things stand in his way: an authoritarian government, deadly storms, and an enchanting outsider who may be the most dangerous of all.

Fast-forward 500 years. Civilization has nearly wiped itself out of existence, and is on the long, slow road to recovery, held together by an agreement called the Pact between cities, agricultural domes, and a new global government.

Seg is a farmer in Holtondome. Like his ancestors, he’s chosen a life of ignorance about technology and the outside world in favor of a simple existence, free of the corruption that almost destroyed the human race.

His world turns upside down when Fi arrives. Tall, exotic, and far too wise for her age, she challenges everything he’s been taught to believe, making him question for the first time if a simple life is right for him or, indeed, for the rest of humanity.

But Fi has secrets darker than her black-ringed eyes — bigger than the Pact — that have implications far beyond Seg and the residents of Holtondome.

If you enjoyed Doctor Who, Firefly, or Hunger Games, then Holtondome is sure to please!

Gift with Purchase are available as well!

https://www.ryansouthwickauthor.com/holtondome

 

Review

Horns and Halos by Nia Rose – My Review


Title: Horns and Halos

Author: Nia Rose

Release Date: March 1st 2022

Genre: Christian Fantasy

My World is Built on Debts and Deals.

Beneath them all, you’ll find horrific secrets that we all hide. It’s lives. It’s souls. Scattered and countless, the dead have built towns, cities, and nations. They are forever damned in the afterlife because they wanted to live without fear. But did they really live without fear, or was it all an illusion?

A pact between devils is the only thing that keeps villages out in the desert-like land untouched by the scourge of this planet. The world we once knew is destroyed and what remains are those left behind trying to build homes to escape the reality that the end has already come. But are we any better than the creatures that loom, roam, tear, and destroy? Are we really worth saving?

At the age of nineteen, I was chosen and cast out of my village as a sacrifice. Now, I have no choice but to make a deal of my own or die out in the endless stretch of the Wastes.

Horns and Halos is a captivating read. A tale of light and dark. Evil and good. The balance between the two and most importantly, faith.

Once I began reading, I was immediately intrigued. I could picture the landscape. The desolate areas. The terrors that awaited after the sun went down. Miss Rose is a master at word play. As the story went on, I became more and more invested. I needed to know what would happen next! Our main character’s journey isn’t an easy one. Sia is tested at every corner. That ending though…it’s safe to say I did not see it coming. Very nice. Well done. This tale may invoke some feelings about certain characters and what they represent. You’ll have to read the book to know what I mean.

If you’re looking for a different read, this book is for you. This right here is your next read. I promise you, you won’t be the same after reading it. I look forward to whatever comes next from Nia Rose. I give this 5 stars.

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

New Release · Review

Faded (Starbound Book 2) by K.L. Bone and Greg Wilkey – My Review


Title: Faded (Starbound Book 2)

Author: K.L. Bone & Greg Wilkey

Release Date: April 28th 2022

Genre: Dark Fantasy

Stars dim, darkness rises, starlight shines anew.

***

Heartbroken after the events of Fallen, Rosalind returns to Oxford, unaware of the dangers which stalk her. Cloaked in shadows, secrets hidden in her unrelenting dreams hint at a perilous destiny to come.

Haunted by the same nightmares—and determined to reclaim Rosalind’s heart—Zeke embarks on his own journey to England. But the journey is rampant with danger as those who serve the faded are determined to keep them apart at any cost. And Zeke is not the only one vying for Rosalind’s hand.

Meanwhile, Ursula continues to unfold her sinister plot, one which may see darkness conquer all.

A tale of stars, destiny, and darkness.

Once again, I was wowed by the fascinating storytelling of K.L. Bone and Greg Wilkey. As soon as I started reading, the real world melted away and soon I was in Zeke and Rosalind’s world. The chemistry between the two is scorching and magnetic. One of my favorite characters from the first book is back and we learn a lot more about her and her past. Lots of things are put into motion and when the ending finally came, I was left speechless and heartbroken. These are good things, trust me. Once you read these books, you can join me in my book hangover.

I look forward to and not so patiently for the third book. This is a highly must read and should be added to your TBR today! I give this 5 stars.