Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author featuring D.L. Boyles

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is D.L. Boyles! Author of the Twisted Tales: Crown of Roses.

What inspired you to start writing?

Honestly, I have always enjoyed writing, and anyone who knows me will agree that I’ve always liked to tell stories or even just retell events with a bit of extra-ness. I have had a lot of friends over the years tell me I should write a book, but I blew them off. Then, when our daughter, kid number three of four, started having bad nightmares, her counselor told me we should turn them into stories and change the ending. Suddenly, I found myself creating these elaborate retellings of her nightmares which could have absolutely been fairytales of their own. When I had a whole collection of stories, I wrote them down and used pictures of our kids as “illustrations” for a homemade storybook. My oldest daughter said I should turn some of the stories into an actual story for other people to read. It was a good idea, but I had no idea how to go about that. The idea kept rolling around in my head, though. Finally, my grandma was sick and we knew she didn’t have much time left. For most of my life, my grandma sang her praises of my ability to write, and I thought, “I need to do it while she’s around to know.” Thus, I reached out to an author I admire greatly for some advice, researched more on my own, and I sat down one day and started writing. I had my first book published in time for my grandma to at least know and tell me how “tickled” she was that I’d done it. Sadly, she didn’t get a chance to read it, but I will never forget the little squeal she had when I told her it was a tangible thing. Now, my husband inspires me to keep going, so I am continuing to write.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I don’t start with an outline. Instead, I just start telling my story to my kids during van rides, and I decide that it is either way too ridiculous to be any good, or I come home and write it out on a legal notepad, scribbling and crossing out things as I go. Most of it is me writing down questions like, “Why would he do that?” “This is not smart.” “Confusing.” “Ugh.” Then, I sit on my exercise bike and really hash it out. By the time I’ve ‘ridden’ fifteen miles, my thighs are a little tight, but I’ve got the basics for a decent scene in a story. Just one scene. Then…Yes, then, I make an outline. It is a bit backwards, and I’m sure it may not work for everyone, but in my mind, it’s the only way to begin. Also…I must have coconut water or water—or both—and a glass of hot tea in order to sit at my computer and feel ready to be productive.

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

Well, in my Twisted Tales:  Crown of Roses series, I was dealing with a lot of emotional stuff, and I really took it out on my characters. I figured if real life wasn’t going to give me that final saving grace which made everything turn out perfectly fine, my fantasy characters needed to have a bit of turmoil even they couldn’t get out of. I put Eira through the emotional ringer, for sure, and she lived out as much of my emotions as I did hers. Some of my readers have cried over the series while others said they saw it coming. My editor, Lisa, refused to speak to me for about a day because I made her ‘ugly cry.’ To let out my emotions, I listened to music while I was doing my final edits, and I found myself feeling. To this day, “A Little Bit Yours” by J.P. Saxe makes me think of Phillip and Eira. They have a whole playlist, to be honest. So, I poured my emotions into my book, its characters, and had a bit of an outlet through music which went along with it. Sometimes I tell the cat just how ridiculous things are, to which she replies with lots of purring, or I have to take my mutt for a walk to get any residual emotional moments out.

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

I have four books published so far. One trilogy is complete and the second is in the works. Honestly, my favorite is the second book of the series, Twisted Tales:  Crown of Roses, titled “Broken Curse.” It is my favorite because of The Wilds, Balthoron, and Lord Colden. Balthoron and Lord Colden are two of my favorite characters in the series, but Balthoron is my fave just because he is a drow and that’s a fantasy race which doesn’t get a lot of attention in romantic fantasy. His personality is so different from mine, I am still shocked by how he evolved from my own brain. When I reread the book, I couldn’t help be impressed with him…and, by default, me, which is something I have posted on my website…lol

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

Oh, I definitely have to give some credit to a few authors, honestly, and they’re a surprising list. First, I delved into the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon long before Sam Heughan brought Jamie Fraser to life. While I would never put myself on par with the literary genius of Diana Gabaldon, her dedication to perfecting the story has always inspired me. I’m also a serious fan of Scott O’Dell (Island of the Blue Dolphins) and Jack London (Call of the Wild) who took realistic events and turned them into fiction. During college, I was studying mythology, and the book World Mythology by Donna Rosenberg introduced me to a world of myths and legends I hadn’t experienced before. Those works have inspired me to look at the reality of life and consider how those realities could translate into a story or to even consider how people with limited technology could seek to form answers within the confines of their own understanding. Blows my mind. Then, one day, I found a book by Robin D. Mahle and Elle Madison with a map—which I’m a sucker for—and they drew me more firmly into Romantic Fantasy, and I’ve been a fan ever since. While I’m more in line with fae and magic wielders than they are, they were still a huge influence on me, and Robin was the author I reached out to when I started considering my options for writing. Sylvia Mercedes rocks my world. I don’t know how that woman cranks books out the way she does, but man, I’d like to drink from whatever well she’s drawing from.

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

I love when the readers post things on my Facebook page like pictures of their copy of my book with comments about how much they’re liking it. The fact they took the time to not only comment but to take an artsy, pretty picture makes me feel amazing. Some readers send me private messages and want to talk about specifics of the characters which is super fun for me. Those characters took up residency in my brain for a long time and still live on in my head, so I am all in when it comes to talking about them with readers. I also have a few local fans who I see periodically, and when I do, I get really amped up by their excitement to tell people about me and my books. Literally, my face gets stuck in a permanent grin that actually starts to hurt. Some of my favorite comments, though, are from people who say they didn’t consider my genre as something they wanted to read, but that they really enjoyed my book and couldn’t stop reading the series. To know that I impacted them in such a way that they were able to enjoy something they had reservations about, makes me feel like I did it right in the storytelling arena. I love interacting with my readers, and I ask my readers questions and for their input on my Facebook author page. In the series I am currently writing, I had a lot of readers who gave me ideas for a character name. I was only looking for one name, but I got so much feedback, I felt I had to utilize it all. Thus, in the Twisted Tales:  Kingdom of Stones series, I am putting every single one of those name suggestions into the books. Whether it be the name of a trusty steed, a main character, or a simple soldier, it went into the series somewhere. I want my readers to know that I appreciate them and their interaction with me, so I felt it was important to utilize all of their name suggestions. I even gave them a shout-out in the first book of the series’ dedication page. Some of them really thought that was cool.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

Literal book? There isn’t just one. Diana Gabladon’s Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone is sitting there next to the bed along with Joy:  A Study of Philippians by Deb Burma and A House with Four Rooms by Rumer Godden. However, I’m on my Kindle app so much that I don’t get very many hardcopy books anymore. I am addicted to huffing books, though, like a deranged junkie, so don’t think I’ve gone too tech and won’t go back to the good stuff. My current read via Kindle is Lisette Marshall’s Velvet, and I just finished up reading an ARC for Meredith Hart’s Heart’s Rescue. Meredith Hart is another one of my faves who inspires me to try a little bit harder.

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

Oh, wow. That would be so fun. Beyond fun, really, and I honestly picture the story in my head as a movie, so…here goes. Eira, the lead female in the Crown of Roses series is spunky, powerful, humble, and a bit sad. I’d cast the role with Sophia Bush who could definitely put some power behind it with that extra touch of emotionally detached feminism. Audora is a very young, pampered princess who discovers life in a harsh way, and I’d peg Halston Sage as someone who could pull it off rather well. The three male leads are a bit more challenging. I’d pick Chris Wood (Vampire Diaries) as Prince Phillip just because he has that overall look of a polished royal with a potential dark side. Patrick Flueger could definitely pull of the cocky but reserved Lord Colden. Balthoron would be a hard one for me because I’d be really picky about who portrayed him. If I had to narrow it down, though, Henry Cavill or Christian Bale could pull the look off rather well. To be honest, however, I’m certain there’s a not-so-well-known male actor out there who could bring Balthoron to life better. Maybe more people will have to read the books and let me know what they think.

What advice would you give to other authors?

To other authors? Wow. I feel like so many authors are out there doing better than me, so I have very little advice for them, and I’d be afraid to sound full of myself if I tried. For those new authors, though, or the aspiring ones, I would say…write it down. That scene, that moment, that interaction between characters that you’ve been picturing for days, weeks, months, years…write it down. And don’t just outline it, but actually write it and give life to the characters who live it. Then, build your story around that moment, because when you realize that your characters are ‘real,’ you can much more easily picture who they are, how they got to that moment you wrote about, and how they’re going to move past it.

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

I have no qualms telling people things outright, but I don’t usually tell them my honest, deep-down feelings unless they very specifically ask. I’m a broken, emotionally withdrawn person, so when I write, it is my way of expressing my softer, more vulnerable emotions. In real life, I don’t share that side of me easily. So, the thing I want people to know about my books is that when I write, I put self-expression into characters or into the overall story, because it is something I’ve never told someone before but wish they knew. When readers open one of my books, they’re getting some secret part of me that I’ve never spoken outright, but each person will be left to discover something different than the next. Thus, I enjoy writing and get personal satisfaction out of being ‘understood’ when someone notices little nuances here or there or when they look deeper at a character and what that character didn’t do or say. Readers will find me in each book, a new something about me even in the tropes and common threads.

 

Thank you D.L. Boyles for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her series, Twisted Tales: Crown of Roses today!

~Synopsis~

A sleeping princess, the Crown of Roses upon her head, will rise up and unite the faerie courts against a common foe, and by her side, the warrior of renown…And in her wake…a child of fire and of ice will rise, spelling the end of all others. All of Shadoria will bow to the child of fire and of ice, living peaceably for ten thousand years.

That’s what the legends say.

But what happens when no one remembers the legend?

Outcast and cursed from even uttering her own name, Snow flees her kingdom and The Hunter sent to kill her, to find refuge amongst the mountain dwarfs. She spends years forming a plan to save her kingdom from the curse the evil queen, Isadora, has plagued them with–one which makes them forget the truth. Yet, The Hunter who once pursued her finds her again and thwarts all of her well-laid plans…until she develops a new plan which involves kidnapping the prince of the Summer Court. What Snow didn’t expect, however, was that the prince she intended to kidnap is The Hunter she was trying to avoid…or was she?

Oblivious to the danger she lives with, Audora believes her human life as the princess of Wessix to be idyllic if not for that ridiculous curse the fae prince, Malecinth of the Autumn Court, placed upon her when she was a baby. Thankfully, Merriweather had enough power to at least give her some hope – true love’s kiss could break the spell. Except that means that her mother continually throws parties and thrusts every eligible bachelor within the Human Kingdoms in her direction. When that fails to reveal Audora’s true love, Queen Isadora schemes with the fae, but Isadora has her own plans for finding true love. Thwarted by her mother’s plans to secure true love’s kiss in an ‘acceptable’ match, Audora loses her chance at love and faces a betrayal she never saw coming…and the reality of her curse in endless sleep.Snow White wasn’t helpless against The Hunter and Sleeping Beauty was never meant to be a sleeping princess waiting for the handsome prince in shining armor to come along.

You’ve heard the stories of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, destined to fall asleep and never wake until they received true love’s kiss.

What you didn’t know was that their stories were intertwined and their fates bound together – and their princes were not so shiny, their kisses not so sweet.

D.L. Boyles lives in the Cranberry Capital of the Midwest with her husband, three of their four children (their oldest being a wife and mom, herself), six fish, two fully aquatic frogs, the fastest aquatic snail there ever was, and a cat-dog duo. She spent twelve years in the military where she met a lot of exciting people and visited a lot of interesting places. D. L. holds a degree in Religious Studies with a minor in History. In addition to writing, some of her favorite things are hot tea, coconut water, gardening, taking long walks in nature, planting trees, entertaining friends in her back yard when it isn’t buried in snow or ice, creating fun projects for her husband and son to build (they love that), learning about different cultures, and going on endless reading adventures.

She loves romantic fantasy which is why she writes it, but she also has an ongoing relationship with historical fiction, Westerns, regency romance, medieval fiction, and some contemporary romance. One of her most rewarding things about writing is hearing from readers, so never hesitate to reach out.

Check out the D.L. Boyles Author Website www.dlboylesauthor.com where you can sign up for the monthly newsletter.

Readers can hang out with D. L. Boyles on Facebook on the D.L. Boyles – Author Page www.facebook.com/groups/1404384686572534

Instagram  www.instagram.com/dlboylesauthor/

BookBub  www.bookbub.com/profile/d-l-boyles

Goodreads  www.goodreads.com/author/show/21284258.D_L_Boyles

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/author/dlboylesauthor

Review

Helen’s Surrender by Ciara Skye – My Review

Title: Helen’s Surrender

Author: Ciara Skye

Release Date: June 10th 2021

Genre: Mythology, Fairytale

Three sexy gods. One ancient prophecy. And the face that launched a thousand ships.

***

Washing up on the shore of an ancient Greek Isle after her cruise ship sank into the Mediterranean, Helen awakes before the crumbling remains of a forgotten temple. Life saved by three mysterious men, she struggles with their belief that she is the direct descendent of the famous beauty, and her namesake, Helen of Troy.

Convinced she is the one who can restore these ancient immortals to their ancestral powers, she quickly becomes swept into a sizzling tale of ancient temptations and irresistible seductions, even as she struggles to protect her heart from the gods seeking to claim it.

As Helen slowly surrenders to a world she once believed existed only in legends, another power lurks in the shadows. One determined to ensure Helen fails in her quest, bringing those intent on claiming her heart to the same ruin as the mythic heroes who fell long ago before the ashen gates of Troy.

*Helen’s Surrender is a stand-alone novel in a shared paranormal romance world*

Helen’s Surrender is a delightfully and tantalizing read. Fantastic world building. I loved the author’s twist on the tale of Helen of Troy. A bit of adventure. A bit of folktale and a whole lot of sexy to get your pulse racing! Each man is alluring and desirable in their own way. Which made them prime book boyfriend material. This is one of those guilty pleasure reads. Heavy on the pleasure with none of the guilt.

As a whole, this book is entertaining and guaranteed to heat up your night! Highly recommend! I give this 5 stars.

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

Review

Weep, Woman, Weep: A Gothic Fairytale about Ancestral Hauntings by Maria DeBlassie – My Review

Title: Weep, Woman, Weep: A Gothic Fairytale about Ancestral Hauntings

Author: Maria DeBlassie

Release Date: August 25th 2021

Genre: Folklore, Mythology

A compelling gothic fairytale by bruja and award-winning writer Maria DeBlassie.

The women of Sueño, New Mexico don’t know how to live a life without sorrows. That’s La Llorona’s doing. She roams the waterways looking for the next generation of girls to baptize, filling them with more tears than any woman should have to hold. And there’s not much they can do about the Weeping Woman except to avoid walking along the riverbank at night and to try to keep their sadness in check. That’s what attracts her to them: the pain and heartache that gets passed down from one generation of women to the next.

Mercy knows this, probably better than anyone. She lost her best friend to La Llorona and almost found a watery grave herself. But she survived. Only she didn’t come back quite right and she knows La Llorona won’t be satisfied until she drags the one soul that got away back to the bottom of the river.

In a battle for her life, Mercy fights to break the chains of generational trauma and reclaim her soul free from ancestral hauntings by turning to the only things that she knows can save her: plant medicine, pulp books, and the promise of a love so strong not even La Llorona can stop it from happening. What unfolds is a stunning tale of one woman’s journey into magic, healing, and rebirth.

CW: assault, domestic violence, racism, colorism

I don’t think I can properly articulate how much I loved this book but I will try.

From the start, I am instantly pulled in. The town of Sueno is filled with sorrow. For the legend of La Llorona is true and she is not holding back. Mercy is careful. Stays away, well for the most part. Then something happens that changes everything.

This story is beautifully written. Hauntingly beautiful. I could not put it down. I needed to know what would happen next for Mercy. Ah Mercy. She’s such a great character. Very relatable. Loved the storytelling style of this author. I could vividly picture everything and I was transported into a different world. A wonderful escape from reality. This story has everything you could want. La Llorona has always fascinated me and Miss DeBlassie did this folktale good. After finishing the book, I let out a long sigh. While I enjoyed it very much, it felt like I was saying goodbye to an old friend. I hate goodbyes!

Weep, Woman, Weep is a fascinating story of strength, sorrow, and of hope. I look forward to reading more by this author. I highly recommend this book! I give it 5 stars.

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author · New Release

Interview with an Author featuring Dr. Maria DeBlassie

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Dr. Maria DeBlassie! Her novel, Weep, Woman, Weep: A Gothic Fairytale about Ancestral Hauntings released on August 25th 2021.

What inspired you to start writing?

I love everyday life, corny as it sounds. The magic of a Monday, the quiet bliss of an afternoon cup of tea, the illicit joy of reading late into the night…these are the simple pleasures that make life wonderful. It’s easy to overlook them, get swept up in our to-do lists, but when we pause and take in the beauty around us, we remember to be more than that to-do list. We glean wisdom in the whispering trees and the synchronous happenings that punctuate our day.  We remember to dream. And that kind of ordinary joy is pure magic.

I’m also inspired by the ordinary gothic we encounter regularly, from the vague sense of unease, the uncanny experience, the brush with the supernatural…It happens more than people think and it’s always right in front of us, in our day-in, day-out. So my writing came out of this desire to capture the enchantments and strangeness of daily life.  When we learn to see our lives through this mystical lens, the world suddenly gets much more interesting. Or rather, it was always that interesting—we’re just learning how to see it that way!

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

It’s a silly thing, but I can’t really write unless I know my house is clean, the kettle is whistling, and me and my familiar, Smoke, have had a chance to read the tarot. It’s like I need that ritual to settle my mind and get ready for the realm of stories long before I sit at my writing desk.

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

Writing has always been a form of conjuring for me. I write to heal myself. I write to imagine better ways of being in the world. I write to conjure the kind of life I want to live.  So my stories always impact me emotionally—sometimes it’s pure enjoyment in getting an idea out on the page or inspiration in seeing a plot point come together. Sometimes they give me nightmares…which usually end up inspiring my gothic tales. I like to let these feelings wash over me, know that they are part of the process of storytelling and healing. After all, if I don’t feel the ups and downs of a story, if I’m not deeply emotionally invested in how things will turn out, I can’t expect my readers to be!

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

I have written a few books now, starting in creative non-fiction. My first book, Everyday Enchantments: Musings on Ordinary Magic & Daily Conjurings, has a special place in my heart because it allowed me to find my voice as a writer and bruja. Practically Pagan – An Alternative Guide to Magical Living came out of that book as did my fiction. Hungry Business: A Gothic Story about the Horrors of Dating is the first fiction piece I published and the one that gave me the confidence to keep writing stories. Weep, Woman, Weep: A Gothic Fairytale about Ancestral Hauntings helped me work through my own complicated feelings towards my mestiza background and my testy relationship with La Llorona.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

Too many to name! I grew up reading the gothic classics like the John Silence series, as well as creepy fairytales, and authors like Teri Windling and Tolkien. I think they set me on the path to writing the sort of gothic fairytales and magical realism that I write today. I also love old pulp books and bodice rippers, mostly for their covers, so they always find their way into my stories!

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

I love it when I hear from my readers! Many of them reach out to tell me how my books have helped them work through things in their own life, from finding mystic in the mundane, to their journey into the pagan or witchy worlds, to dealing with their own ancestral hauntings and healing journeys. It’s wonderful to know that I am not alone in looking to stories to heal myself.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

Well, it’s Halloween season, so I’m all about the scary stories and gothic romances right now. I’m enjoying G.V. Pearce’s Ghost Story, The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor written by Shaenon K. Garrity and illustrated by Christopher Baldwin. I’m also reading K.J. Charles’s Band Sinister, which is a delightful queer historical romance with a fun gothic novel subplot.

What gave you that push to press the publish button?

I had a moment before I committed to publishing where I was afraid to have my books out in the world—it’s a little scary putting your ideas and imaginings out there like that.  But I knew that my books had real medicine in them and that they would find the right people who needed them. That’s what made me finally publish my books and I haven’t looked back since.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Keep writing. Find your creative community. Enjoy the process of learning as you go—its fun and liberating once you silence that inner editor and allow yourself the freedom to explore the wonderful writing world.

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

All my books, in one way or another, are about facing the darkness in order to see the light. They’re about hope and healing and more than a little magic!

 

 

Thank you Dr. Maria DeBlassie for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, Weep, Woman, Weep today!

~Synopsis~

A compelling gothic fairytale by bruja and award-winning writer Maria DeBlassie.

The women of Sueño, New Mexico don’t know how to live a life without sorrows. That’s La Llorona’s doing. She roams the waterways looking for the next generation of girls to baptize, filling them with more tears than any woman should have to hold. And there’s not much they can do about the Weeping Woman except to avoid walking along the riverbank at night and to try to keep their sadness in check. That’s what attracts her to them: the pain and heartache that gets passed down from one generation of women to the next.

Mercy knows this, probably better than anyone. She lost her best friend to La Llorona and almost found a watery grave herself. But she survived. Only she didn’t come back quite right and she knows La Llorona won’t be satisfied until she drags the one soul that got away back to the bottom of the river.

In a battle for her life, Mercy fights to break the chains of generational trauma and reclaim her soul free from ancestral hauntings by turning to the only things that she knows can save her: plant medicine, pulp books, and the promise of a love so strong not even La Llorona can stop it from happening. What unfolds is a stunning tale of one woman’s journey into magic, healing, and rebirth.

CW: assault, domestic violence, racism, colorism.

Dr. Maria DeBlassie is a native New Mexican mestiza and award-winning writer and educator living in the Land of Enchantment. She writes about everyday magic, ordinary gothic, and all things witchy. When she is not practicing brujeria, she’s teaching classes about bodice rippers, modern mystics, and things that go bump in the night. She is forever looking for magic in her life and somehow always finding more than she thought was there.

Website: www.mariadeblassie.com

twitter: @enchantmentll

facebook https://www.facebook.com/enchantmentll

instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mdeblassie.writer

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7rY-gLkSH-w8uuVyrhVALA

Review

Slave of the Siren: The Siren Trilogy by A.G. Belle – My Review

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Title: Slave of the Siren: The Siren Trilogy

Author: A.G. Belle

Release Date: March 3rd 2020

Genre: Mythology, Fantasy 

Pulled into the mythical underwater world Yara is forced to dance and lure men to their deaths all to keep her best friend Samuel safe. However, fate brings the season of change as Yara meets a sexy PI named Dylan who is running his own investigation of a missing person’s case. Things heat up between the two and there’s no denying the attraction between them. Together they will work to solve a mystery that has plagued men throughout time…

5-gold-stars

Sirens, curses, and lore oh my!

A.G. Belle dazzles readers in her solo debut, Slave of the Siren. The story is amazing and entertaining. An unputdownable read that will leave you wanting more! The chemistry between Yara and Dylan is scorching. Those steamy scenes are both tasteful and naughty.

If you’re a fan of sirens and paranormal romance, this book is for you! Skip adding it to your TBR and one click it today. I give it 5 stars!

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author Featuring Kala Merseal

The Literary Vixen presents…

KalaMerseal-AuthorPic

Joining us today is Kala Merseal! Her upcoming release, The Dark Realm (The Guardians of Atlanta Book 4) releases on June 29th 2021.

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve always loved stories (as I think is every writer’s go-to answer) but I started writing when I was in third grade. I also enjoyed drawing, so I illustrated a little book for my class to read about a dragon that could only blow bubbles in a family of fire-breathers, and in the end saved their home from fire-proof but water-vulnerable goblins! My childhood was filled with trips between my divorced parents, and my mother often moved. I wasn’t able to settle into a home and make permanent friends until my early teens, so I think that came out with my stories as a child. They were often about the hero/heroine finding a way to fit into the world despite some kind of disability or different-ness. Through my teens and into early adulthood, writing and drawing had always been a hobby for me, and I often said that I would find the time or motivation to publish eventually. I didn’t follow through until after my mom passed away in 2019, and I discovered that she had been reading the little journals I used to scribble in as a kid. We were fighting beforehand for about a year, so we weren’t in contact—my stories were the only way to reach me, even if that was the me from years ago. I published first so that I could tell her (or the heavens, whoever was listening, wherever they were) that I did, like I told her I would. I told my husband that I would just be happy to see how readers react to my stories, so that I could imagine how my mother would. Then it became a mission to make it a career.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I’m not sure if it’s interesting, but I have to listen to music while I’m writing! I get the emotions and scenes painted by the mood of the songs, so I often put very specific songs on repeat. Also, coffee. All the time. Though I think this only speaks to my habits while writing. I also struggle writing out of the chronology of the story or multitasking between writing more than one story.

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

Writing is an emotional relief for me, actually. I don’t walk away from the story with their emotions piled up in the corner of my mind—it’s more like they’re dumped with mine. So, when I’m dealing with some particularly dark scene or thoughts of a character, we’re sharing those burdens together. Often, I’m rolling around afterward just thinking about what they’re feeling or experiencing, and I’m always drawn back to the document to continue to spill out more hell. I feel much better afterward and even though my characters might not get relief in the immediate events, I consolidate it with the fact that I’ll resolve their issues in the end. As I love to quote Ron from Prisoner of Azkaban: “You’re gonna suffer, but you’re gonna be happy about it.”

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

I have tons of journals that have stories; some not finished, others not worthy for eyes at all. I’ve probably written near twenty stories. But novels or full-length books, I think only within ten. Most were just ramblings that happened on the fly with no clear ending but they definitely became more coherent as I continued to write (and as I grew up). I think my most favorite (thus far) is The Shadow Curse. I’ve been developing that story for about four years now and only finished the first book last year. It started from a mash-up of a dream and an amalgamation of some story I wrote when I was a kid and evolved from there. The characters are all deep aspects of my inner turmoil.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo, Cassandra Clare, and (dare I say it) Stephanie Meyer were all huge influences on me in my teens. I used to obsessively read Twilight as a tween (now can’t stand the books or the movies) and that led me to wanting to write my own. Before I hit twelve though, movies like Eragon and Harry Potter influenced my stories and drawings. I think most recently, I’m more influenced by Tolkien and Elder Scrolls lore (a game franchise but they’ve developed the hell out of their stories).

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

I do! I have some hardcore fans that are in frequent contact with me. I’ve been lucky to make a few friends from my readers and I’m so thankful for them. I have such a great response from my readers that I think without them, I wouldn’t have gotten this far in publishing. I think readers really underestimate how much power they have in influencing their authors. It’s hard to create if we don’t have feedback on how well the creation is looking.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

I’ve had Six of Crows sitting beside my bed for a while! I mostly read on my phone though. The last book I read earlier this week was Heat by Aprilynne Pike. She was always an influence on my writing, though lesser known to some readers.

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

That would be cool, but I’d rather my book be made into an animation or a comic! That would be amazing. I love illustration and animation and seeing my stories come to life the way I imagine it in my head would be perfect. A dream come true.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Have a thicker skin, keep your pen to the page, and keep writing. I’ve had to remind myself of this often. I think out of all the advice someone could give about the craft of writing, endurance is key. No matter where you’re starting out or how great (or not) you are with writing, if you have the passion for it, you can get better. No one should give up on a passion just because someone else says they suck. People are fickle and careless, and most don’t understand the impact of their words. Most walk away and forget they even said anything to you. If there’s something wrong with your story, dissect it, find the problem, hit ctrl+alt+delete, then move on. Life’s too temporary to get hung up and stuck on minor details.

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

I get so invested in my books. Looking back on The Guardians of Altana, my first finished series as of late this coming June, I think Ara really embodies me. She is every emotion and tragedy I’ve experienced the last few years, so if you want to get to know me, meet Ara. I also learned how to write longer fiction with this first series. I know it’s a little rocky in the beginning. I developed the world as I wrote The Guardians of Altana, so even after Ara’s and Raethin’s story is finished, there will be more to come. I’ve Silmarillion-ed the world and I plan to have many prequel and sequel series to this one.

Thank you Kala Merseal for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out and pre-order her newest release, The Dark Realm today!

TDR-MayDesign

~Synopsis~

They must destroy the last gate—no matter the cost.

Separated after the destruction of the second gate, Ara, Raethin, Cirith, and Zira must find their way back to one another before Aeskrius can cut them down one by one.

The will of the primordial gods lead Raethin to Ara and together, they trek the vast Kava Sil landscape to find the rest of their team. With the help of the foreign guardian of the god of fire, Cirith and Zira regroup with the princess and her commander

The final hours draw near as they race against the Void King’s champion to the final gate. The fate of Thraes depends on them to stop Aeskrius before he rips open the realms.

Kala Merseal is an author of High and Urban Fantasy. Since her childhood, she’s loved writing about fantastical worlds, deep mythologies, epic adventures, and star-crossed love.

https://www.kalamerseal.com/links/

Review

My Song’s Curse (Duet of the Gods Book 1) by Poppy Minnix – My Review

Title: My Song’s Curse (Duet of the Gods Book 1)

Author: Poppy Minnix

Release Date: August 31st 2020

Genre: Mythology, Paranormal Romance

Ultimate control has its downside, especially when it comes to romance. But will it be enough to keep them together?

As a siren Lula Aglaope can bend anyone to her will with the smallest whisper, but she’d give up her power for one meaningful, honest conversation.

She wants a normal life, like the open, true connections the humans seem to pull off with such little effort.

When she meets Alexiares, God of Warding off Wars, all thoughts of normalcy fly out the window. The beautiful demigod cannot be controlled! He’s frustrating, irresistible…and utterly off-limits.

Alex has watched Olympus slowly fall apart. The old gods continue their archaic control of the Universe, denying the progress of humans and other deities. But Alex has plans to repair the damage, and Lula is a major player.

She just doesn’t know it yet.

Falling for her is the worst idea. And just when things move in the right direction, danger arises that no one expects, plunging the sirens into the deadly Olympian spotlight.

With Lula’s sisters missing, and a pile of broken laws surrounding them, will Alex and Lula change the Universe for the better or destroy it?

If you like Kevin Hearne, Molly Harper, and Shannon Mayer, you’ll love this fun paranormal romance steeped in mythology!

Fabulous read! Demigods, Sirens, and danger oh my!

The attraction between Lula and Alex was HOT! They truly have a connection and it was fun to see that blossom as the story progressed. The story is engaging and I love the mythology woven throughout. From beginning to end, this book will have you on the edge of your seat. Those sex scenes will have you wanting more! Alex and his friends are dreamy and totally book boyfriend worthy! There is also a great balance between action and steamy in this book. I also have to take a moment to appreciate that cover! It’s gorgeous and very eye catching! 

A fantastic debut for Miss Minnix! The story is well written with some wonderful characters that you’ll quickly become attached to. I love her storytelling style and anxiously await more from her! If you’re a fan of fantasy and mythology, this book is for YOU! I give this 5 stars.

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

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author Featuring Poppy Minnix

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Poppy Minnix! Her debut book, My Song’s Curse (Duet of the Gods Book 1) released on August 31st 2020.

What inspired you to start writing?

I had a scene that had spun around in my mind for years until it bugged me so much, I had to write it down. That little bit, a fight between two vastly different characters trying to figure each other out, turned into a chapter, a backstory, a novel, then a series.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I cannot keep the emotions of what I’m writing off my face. I scowl, grin in utter giddiness, and will write scenes with tears streaking my cheeks. People who see me working at my laptop often ask what the heck I’m looking at.

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

Sometimes writing really kicks you in the bad place, but for me, that’s usually helpful. If I’m being bold and not reining myself in through a tough scene, that emotion is going to land. But if things get overly dark, which happens, I’ll go to the happy land of romcom. Same with deliciously zany happiness novels. That can be trying in a different way and needs some drama to counter-balance. I also listen to a lot of music and have vast playlists for each novel to harness tone and get into an emotional state that the writing deserves.

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

I’ve written eleven rough drafts and edited three novels to completion. My favorite book is my first one, though it’s not complete. I’ve been planning the series it belongs to and am looking forward to hopping into edits soon. First works tend to be dumpster fires, and mine is no exception. Years of studying and writing later, I think I can do the story justice.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

I have the most incredible group of author friends I chat with daily. We encourage each other with brainstorming, beta reads, and talk about writing non-stop so they are the most inspirational, influencing writers and authors for my work. Other than that, my influence comes with new reading. This year, S. A. Chakraborty’s Daevabad series has me drooling over world building and vibrant description. Catherynne Valente’s prose is a pure delight and Imogen Keeper has the boldest, perfect voice for romance.

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

I have a handful of dedicated readers that I adore hearing from. They poke me about the next book, ask questions regarding the future of characters and if certain sidekicks will have their own books. I cheer every time a beta reader curses me for making them cry or tells me they laughed out loud through a chapter.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

 I have two. Hex, Love, and Rock & Roll by Kat Turner and The Empire of Gold, by S. A. Chakraborty.

 Do you have any new series planned?

I do! I have plotted out a contemporary romcom trilogy following three women when their truffle shop moves into a casino and have been firming up my next paranormal romance series involving reinstating the Olympian muses.

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

 Oh geez, so many amazing actors and actresses to choose from for My Song’s Curse. Dove Cameron would make an enticing siren if she took the role as Lula. I’d cast Luke Bracey as demigod, Alex. Brandon P. Bell would bring life to Comus and Thomas Doherty could be a phenomenal Rath.

What advice would you give to other authors?

No book is perfect to everyone because art is subjective. No matter how beautiful your prose is, how real your characters are, or how flawless your plot, someone will dislike your work. It’s the joy of differences in humans. But if you write something that you love, put your heart into it and be brave when you bring it to the world, others will love it too.

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

I’m an optimist but also a realist and that travels to my writing. No matter how horrid the world, or dangerous the situations, good will always prevail and a happy ever after will happen. The road won’t be perfect though. My characters are flawed, but fit each other as they figure out that life can be painfully difficult. The way those moments play out as they either trudge through grasping at hope or they break completely, is what makes happy endings so fulfilling.

Thank you Poppy Minnix for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her debut release, My Song’s Curse today!

~Synopsis~

Ultimate control has its downside, especially when it comes to romance. But will it be enough to keep them together?

As a siren Lula Aglaope can bend anyone to her will with the smallest whisper, but she’d give up her power for one meaningful, honest conversation.

She wants a normal life, like the open, true connections the humans seem to pull off with such little effort.

When she meets Alexiares, God of Warding off Wars, all thoughts of normalcy fly out the window. The beautiful demigod cannot be controlled! He’s frustrating, irresistible…and utterly off-limits.

Alex has watched Olympus slowly fall apart. The old gods continue their archaic control of the Universe, denying the progress of humans and other deities. But Alex has plans to repair the damage, and Lula is a major player.

She just doesn’t know it yet.

Falling for her is the worst idea. And just when things move in the right direction, danger arises that no one expects, plunging the sirens into the deadly Olympian spotlight.

With Lula’s sisters missing, and a pile of broken laws surrounding them, will Alex and Lula change the Universe for the better or destroy it?

If you like Kevin Hearne, Molly Harper, and Shannon Mayer, you’ll love this fun paranormal romance steeped in mythology!

Poppy Minnix is an award-winning paranormal and contemporary romance novelist. She has a penchant for writing strong men and women who are already awesome but find that together they can conquer their inner demons, or actual demons. Before her fall into an utter obsession with writing, she was a conference manager and also dabbled in veterinary science, corporate sales, waitressing, and was captain of a roller derby team. 

When she’s not frantically tapping the keys, chasing after two young kids, or playing board games with her hubs, she’s plotting and possibly scheming about her next writing project. 

You can find her in Maryland coffee shops that serve cinnamon rolls and also on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

www.poppyminnix.com

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Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author featuring Jaclyn Roche

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Jaclyn Roche! Her newest release, Curse Breaker (Dark Legends) released on March 15th 2020.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I first realized I wanted to be a writer in Third Grade. Mrs. Gobetz was my teacher and she encouraged me to write and create the stories that were floating around in my head. From then on I always wanted to be a writer, but the words left me for many years. It was worse than a bad case of writer’s block. I stopped writing in my twenties not from a lack of desire, but the words wouldn’t flow. I thought that I had lost my gift of storytelling for over a decade.

However in 2015, after I heard another author tell a tale of how she got started, I had the courage to try to make something of the stories that continued to bob around in my mind.  It was then I decided to take it to the next level and try writing again. The first novel I wrote I won’t publish. It was like pulling teeth for each word, but over time it became easier.

Describe your writing space.

At the moment my desk is in the room we should be using for a breakfast nook or kitchen table. I don’t have a door to the room and it’s right next to the great open entertaining area of our kitchen/dining/living rooms. It is wonderful to be connected to the family, but there are many interruptions. Because It’s hard to refocus after each one, I do have plans for an office space in our next house. I secretly cannot wait to get there and unpack all of my office belongings I’ve missed so much.

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

I have written 6 books, but only one is published. I am working on my seventh book now. Four aren’t worthy; they have so many plotting and character issues as some were written when I was a teen. But they were my practice novels. I’m pretty sure every great writer must have one or two of those.

Choosing a favorite would be like choosing your favorite child. It just can’t be done. You love each one because of their individual uniqueness.

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

I find inspiration all around me. Mostly in my dreams, but often my husband or sons will say something that will spark an idea. Sometimes we will be out at the grocery store shopping and I have to pull out my notepad from my purse or take notes on my phone for an idea.

My inspiration for Curse Breaker came from myths and legends as well as another author friend. I wrote 5,000 words and shared it with her and she threw out an idea that I ran with. That first 5k was never published.

My inspiration for Charming Elle has come from the original fairy tales. Those dark twisted ones where feet are cut off to fit into slippers. I have also been inspired by images I have cultivated for characters. When I find I am stuck or things aren’t progressing how I would like I hop onto Deviant Art or Pinterest for inspiration.

This world I am creating is super fun and I cannot wait to get through the series. As of right now I have nine books planned for this series with a potential for twenty-one or more.

What are you reading now?

I am reading the Immortals After Dark Series by Kresley Cole. I’m on book 5, Dark Needs at Night’s Edge. I like to read this series when I’m between books of other series that I am reading, which happens often. I can read an epic fantasy 800 page novel in just two to three days and then I opt for something lighter like Cole’s series.

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

Oh my, this is a hard one. I don’t like to use actors and actresses as my inspirations because they are already walking talking people. I find it limits my imagination. I do find pictures of models and other people on the internet to cast in my character roles.

I think if I were to cast Curse Breaker:

Viktor: Michele Morrone

Seth: Raoul Bova

Kali: Jenna Dewan

Charming Elle would require a larger cast than listed below, but some of the main characters would be:

Elle: Felicia Day

Annabelle – Denise Vasi

Han and Hel: Alex Høgh Andersen

Raynor: Jack Reynor (I just had to!)

Griselda, Elle’s Fae Godmother – Paola Núñez

Riona the Fair, Elle’s mother – Rochelle Aytes

King Ignatius – Luke Hemsworth

Kuth Uther – Alexander Skarsgård

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

I find it more challenging to write the first book because that is when all of the world building happens. From there you have your world and characters set.

Do you hear from your readers? Have you experienced a weird fan girl moment?

I signed my first in person book and they raved about it. I think I was blushing the whole time. It was super exciting.

My readers email me all the time and I have a reader group on Facebook to chat.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Keep writing. Don’t give up.

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

I listen to custom created playlists on Spotify while I write.

https://open.spotify.com/user/jaclyn.roche

I have one’s I listen to for each Book and work in progress as well as a general #amwriting playlist.

 

Thank you Jaclyn Roche for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, Curse Breaker today!

~Synopsis~

A Fated Mates, Insta-Love, compelling dark fantasy that fans of Sarah J. Maas Assassin’s Blade novellas will love.

Sit back and enjoy this compelling dark fantasy novella by International Bestselling Author, Jaclyn Roche.

A reincarnated goddess…
An unrisen long-dead god…
Only she can bring him back to life.

Excerpt:

“You’re mine for now and eternity,” he rumbled against her.
She ignored the voice telling her this wasn’t real. The niggle of doubt reminding her she was sick still and released not because she no longer a foster child that had happened at eighteen, but because she had served her time in the hospital rather than go to jail for the accident.
“Tell me you’re mine,” he demanded ceasing his exploration of her.
His lust-glazed eyes captured hers in their gaze. She could see the outline of the minotaur against his body. The beast simmered at the surface, a layering over Viktor’s form.
“I’m yours. All yours.” Kali’s words, a panted whisper against his ear. That couldn’t be me. Her voice husky.
Viktor’s mouth reclaimed hers, beginning his feast with the flesh of her breast. His tongue darted out, licking her hardened nipple and teasing her other bud with the pad of his thumb. He tore off her clothing, pausing only to consume her with his olive eyes. There was no one else in the world who looked at her the way he did, as if she were the only woman he needed or wanted.
Kali moaned, leaning into him. Her core became molten as they tasted each other. Her hips moved against his groin of their own accord. Tension wound with every draw of his mouth and flick of his thumb. Her fingertips traveled down the sinewy planes of his back, tracing the Egyptian tattoos she’d seen covering his torso. Kali clutched Viktor to her as they tumbled to the inky ground of the between. Her hands entangled in the wild mop of waves atop his head. His body felt airy rather than solid as he removed the rest of their clothing. She fought to remain submerged in the between, unwilling to leave, as Viktor didn’t escape his beastly curse often.
“Don’t go,” she cried wrapping her legs around his waist. “Please.”
**************
Curse Breaker is an Insta-Love Stand Alone Novella of the Dark Legends series. It includes dark themes and fated mates.

Jaclyn loves to write stories with a bite; sometimes literally!

Her Dark Fantasy Romances are packed with paranormal delights.
She is inspired to pen novels that bewitch her reader’s hearts and souls. You can usually find her in her writing cave weaving together those remarkable tales. She hopes they are ones you will think about long after you read, The End.

She lives in the middle of the woods in Maine on a mountain across from a lake. Sharing wonderland is easy when it’s with a loving husband, wild children, goofball dogs, fat toads, and a naughty cat who hasn’t learned her lesson and still tries to eat them!

Jaclyn’s a recovering English teacher who digs in the garden but kills everything she plants and burns almost everything she cooks! Good thing she knows how to write!

Stalk her on social media!

https://www.jaclynroche.com/follow-me

 

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author · New Release

Interview with an Author featuring A.G. Belle

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is A.G. Belle! Her solo debut book, Slave of the Siren released on March 3, 2020.

Tell me a bit about yourself.

I’m 34 almost 35 mother of 4. I have been married for 16 years. I’m a readaholic. My one of my favorite series is The Black Rose by K.L. Bone but I have many more I enjoy. I’m a coffee freak and raspberry is an absolute must in my house!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I think it has been a thought since I was in high school. I loved to write. I wrote tons of short stories and poetry. It was how I dealt with a lot of my emotions, I guess you can say. I never really thought it would happen. I can give a lot of credit to Katy (my co-author) for encouraging me to get started by writing our first book together Unseen Trials. It was a blast! I can’t wait to come up with more.

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

Some of the topics are things I’ve always had an interest in. It’s like they kinda just burst into life like “Hey I’m here tell my story!” Haha

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

I do! I love to drop hints throughout the story to see if anyone catches on. I love to hear about it when they do, it’s fun for me!

What was your hardest scene to write?

I would have to say my first sex scene. I was like ummm.. yup I’m writing this. My mom is probably going to read it. Eeeek!

Do you hear from your readers? Have you experienced any weird fan moments?

 I’ve heard from a few, mostly saying how excited they are for the next book… etc. but not weird moments as of yet!

What is your guilty pleasure kind of reads?

 PRN all of it!!

Have you ever gotten reader’s block?

Yes! It’s horrible! I love to read and sometimes you read something and it’s like you can’t move on from it!

What is some advice would you give to other authors?

 Don’t ever give up. If you have to take a break do it but come back!

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

I love them and my characters, I hope that you enjoy the worlds that I have created as much as I do!

 

Thank you A.G. Belle for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, Slave of the Siren today!

~Synopsis~

Pulled into the mythical underwater world Yara is forced to dance and lure men to their deaths all to keep her best friend Samuel safe. However, fate brings the season of change as Yara meets a sexy PI named Dylan who is running his own investigation of a missing person’s case. Things heat up between the two and there’s no denying the attraction between them. Together they will work to solve a mystery that has plagued men throughout time…

They say every rose has its thorn, but A.G Belle was blessed. Born without thorns, she is a young charismatic mom of 4 who has been blissfully married for 15 years. Like her writing partner, Katy Rose, she is also in the healthcare field.

Regardless of her thornless stem, her writing style is indicative of a fallen angel who could take you out with her bare hands.

She is a professed sleep-aholic who is wildly addicted to coffee sweetened by raspberry syrup. What are little girls made of? You dare ask?? A.G. Belle is made of sugar and sweet things thrown in a wine glass shaped like a skull.

Watch out she may bite! Safer to just buy her books and get to know her at a safe distance.

Facebook – https://m.facebook.com/AuthorAGBelle/

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/99121706-a-g-belle

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/a.g._belle/

Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/AGBelle4

Amazon – https://amzn.to/3cDSsO3