Guest Blogger Staci Troilo on Alchemy, Michelangelo, and the Protectorate

I’ve got a super fun treat for you today with guest blogger Staci Troilo. We originally connected through Twitter and realized we had a lot in common: We’re both Pennsylvania girls and we both come from a strong Italian background. And, of course, we both love to write–and read. Staci’s latest release, BLEEDING HEART, is a fabulous 5-Star mix of supernatural and contemporary, political intrigue, history, familial bonds, mystery and more. She’s written a really cool post about the basis behind it, which I think you’ll enjoy. She’s also got a fun question for you at the end.

Please welcome Staci Troilo!

~ooOOoo~

Thank you, Mae, for inviting me to talk to your readers today. I’m excited to be here.

Hi, everyone. I was so excited when Mae told me you guys are fans of the paranormal. I write many genres, but paranormal is one of my favorites.

The paranormal genre covers a wide range of topics—everything from witches to werewolves, vampires to Valkyries. I seem to like it all. But for one of my current series, I decided to combine my love of the supernatural with my heritage. I’m Italian, and probably obnoxiously proud of it. So when I think “Italy” and “supernatural,” I naturally came to one conclusion.

open book with candle and alchemy pestleAlchemy.

The Renaissance always fascinated me. The art, the architecture, the culture… absolutely captivating. So after a little bit of research and a lot of imagination (or maybe the other way around), the mythology of the Medici Protectorate series took shape.

I never really wanted to write historical novels, so I’ve based this story in the present, but with a heavy focus on the past. Without giving too many spoilers away, I’ll say that in this world, the Medici didn’t die out, despite what people believe. Generation after generation, they are watched over by a secret society. Until the day when Michelangelo’s prophecy comes to fruition and they are poised to rise again to rule Italy.

Sounds pretty realistic—prophecy aside, anyway. So where does the alchemy come into play?

The Protectorate who protects this line? They’ve been given marble daggers that Michelangelo created from his personal quarry, daggers that have been sculpted by the artist himself and forged in alchemical rituals to provide their wielders with specific powers.

Yep, that’s right. In this world, Michelangelo was an alchemist. Quite a successful one, at that. He achieved an alchemist’s ultimate goals—mutating metals and conquering aging. Can you imagine what that means in this world?

It means the man is still alive. Centuries later. And he has untold wealth, experience, and knowledge. Seems that would make him a formidable opponent. Unbeatable, even.

Wait until you see who rises to oppose him, though. It’s not going to be easy for the Protectorate.

The first book of the series, Bleeding Heart, just scratches the surface of the prophecy and the history. Here’s a description of the novel:

Cover of Bleeding Heart, a novel by Staci TroiloIn the heart of Pittsburgh awaits a secret half a millennium in the making.

After her father’s brutal murder, Franki discovers she and her three sisters are the only surviving, secret legacy of the Medici. The same people who brutally murdered her father now target her and her family for assassination. Unprepared to battle an unknown enemy, she finds her safety depends on the Medici Protectorate, the warriors who guarded her bloodline for centuries, but who failed to protect her father.

Gianni, Franki’s protector, blows his first meeting with her, but knows he must garner the trust of not only Franki, but also her sisters. Without that, he fails too, and that is unacceptable—not only to him, but also to the Medici Protectorate. His troubles grow larger, for as he assumes his new role, he also undergoes inexplicable, explosive physical changes… transformations he can’t control. One of those is his uncontainable desire for Franki.

Their worlds collide in passion and violence, and Franki struggles to trust Gianni. When her life is on the line, Gianni will have to conquer both her fears and his own personal demons to rescue her in time.

Shot of Pittsburgh with riverThe story takes place in Western Pennsylvania, where I was born and raised. It’s chock full of Italian traditions and familial relationships based on the culture I grew up in. Honestly, there’s something for almost everyone in there—good food, family bonds, steamy romance, political intrigue, secret societies, alchemical rituals, historical research, supernatural powers. Here’s an excerpt for you to check it out:

“Outside,” Coz was saying to Gianni, tentatively taking his arm. “I think we should get you outside.”

“No,” Vinnie said. He crossed the room quickly and everyone turned to look at him. He grabbed Franki’s hand and dragged her over to Gianni, throwing her into his arms. “Kiss her.”

“What?” Gianni shook violently, tried to back away, but couldn’t. He seemed somehow rooted to the spot. “Are you crazy, V? I’m losing it, here. I can’t be near anyone, let alone…” He looked at Franki and pain seized him.

“Trust me. It will settle you.”

“We need some help in here,” Toni called from the kitchen.

“Please! The bleeding won’t stop!” Donni cried.

“Go ahead, Francesca. He will not harm you, and he needs your help.”

“Who the hell said that?” Jo shrieked.

Gianni knew where that voice came from, and who it belonged to, but he was far from willing to trust it. Franki seemed hell-bent on listening, however. He shook his head, but she took his face in her hands and pulled his mouth to hers. Then something inside Gianni exploded. 

Yeah. As the description said, Gianni is struggling to get a grip on his new powers. And as you might have guessed, when the sisters and the Protectorate get together, there’s often a little tension and a lot of action. The word “chaotic” comes to mind. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The second book, Mind Control, is in final revision now, and picks up where Bleeding Heart ends—with the sisters’ being hunted and the Protectorate still coming into their powers. It will be available in the spring.

I hope you enjoyed this brief look at the Medici Protectorate world. Clearly, the Italian culture and potential of alchemical rituals fascinate me. But now I’m curious. What are your favorite supernatural creatures or powers to read about? Leave a comment; I’d love to talk about it.

Thanks again for letting me visit today. It’s been a blast!

Author Staci TroiloAbout Staci:
Staci Troilo has always loved fiction, ever since her parents read her fairy tales when she was little. Today, her interests are much more eclectic. She loves getting lost in sci-fi battles, fantasy realms, horror worlds, suspenseful intrigues, and romantic entanglements.

As goes her reading, so goes her writing. She can’t pick a single genre to focus on, so she doesn’t even try. She’s proud to say she’s a multi-genre author.

When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with family and friends, possibly cooking for them, or maybe enjoying an afternoon in the pool. To learn more about her, visit http://stacitroilo.com, join her private Facebook group (Staci Troilo’s Novel Idea), subscribe to her newsletter, or connect with her on social media.

Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Google + | LinkedIn | Amazon | Goodreads

62 thoughts on “Guest Blogger Staci Troilo on Alchemy, Michelangelo, and the Protectorate

  1. Mae, I know I thanked you at the beginning of my post, but I just wanted to pass on my appreciation again. I’m meeting some lovely people and having a great time talking with everyone. Thanks for hosting me here today.

    • Thank you, Daisy. The concept first started with a story my grandfather told me about his heritage, and although the series has changed drastically from his ancestry, it’s still a labor of love for me.

      • No wonder I enjoyed it so much. All that Italian background and family traditions. Took me back to when I was a kid. I have a strong love of family and history too, Staci. Bravo for you for incorporating that into your series.

      • Mae, I don’t know any other way to write. Imagination only takes me so far, then I have to start considering the things I know. And, in my case, that’s big, boisterous families. And I love that you can relate to them, that the work brought you back to your childhood. Just what I was hoping for.

    • Thanks, Mae. I have to say, it doesn’t surprise me that it reminds you of your family. Italian families all seem to have that certain… something. Passion, I guess. Whether loving or arguing, they do so fiercely. I’m glad it rings true and speaks to you.

      • You are so right about Italians and their passion. And holidays were always the best. Just thinking about it makes me want to rummage through old pictures again!

  2. Nice to meet you, Staci!

    You had me at “good food”! LOL

    My favorite supernatural creature? I’ve written about several, but I think my first love is ghosts.

    I just snagged my copy of Bleeding Heart. Mae and I have very similar tastes, so I take many of her recommendations. And this book sounds VERY intriguing.

    • Good food… LOL. That’ll grab a lot of people’s attention, I bet. My publisher is discussing a cookbook to go with this series. I’ve never written one before, but I’m considering it. Most of my family recipes just say “a pinch of this, a handful of that, add some of such-and-such” so I’m guessing it will be more work than they think.

      I’m honored that you will be reading Bleeding Heart. Please let me know what you think when you’re done.

      Ghosts are a favorite of mine, too. There’s something about a lingering spirit that intrigues me. Why are they here? What do they want? Where can they go? What can they do? How can they move on? Yes, ghosts are fascinating. Especially this time of year!

      • I would totally buy that cookbook. Would it be mostly authentic Italian food? I love Italian food! I almost hesitated to say that because in one of my books, I mentioned that the pizza was good because the owners were Italian, and I was accused by a reader of making a racist remark. I had intended it as a compliment! LOL

      • I would buy it too, LauraLynn. Most of the old recipes from my Italian relatives are gone. No one thought to write them down, which is a shame.

        A while back Staci shared a recipe on her blog for stuffed eggplant, which I made, and it was delicious.

        Funny about the pizza. I would never have interpreted that as racist!! On an interesting side note, my Italian grandfather (who at different points in his life owned a bakery and a restaurant/bar, sold his recipe for pizza to a local company that changed the name and took it to chain distribution levels). I was amazed when I learned that because I’d been eating the pizza for years and never knew it!

      • I never would have considered that comment racist. “Stereotypical” might be more appropriate, but when it’s true, what can you do? Italian food is awesome, and Italians generally make it better than non-Italians do. That’s not racist; that’s just the way it is. For example, I love Japanese food, but I’m certain my friends of Japanese ancestry (who grew up with family recipes) are far more capable of making delicious Japanese food than I am. And that doesn’t offend me. It just makes me want to ask them for tips. (Or just to cook for me.)

        I think the cookbook (for this particular series) would be a mix. Yes, these characters are of Italian ancestry, but they’ve been in America for a while. Their cooking has evolved, they don’t always have access to the same ingredients, and there are other ethnic recipes that they’ve tried and liked. So, while it would have a lot of authentic recipes from my family, it would have some other things in it, too.

        And Mae, I’m so glad you liked the eggplant. I’ve been hungry for it. Maybe I’ll make it this weekend.

      • I like your take on how different cultures are better at certain types of cuisine than others. It’s part of their heritage and makes perfect sense. I love Asian and Mexican food but my attempts to produce it are pitifully shy of those who are born to that heritage. And yes, the eggplant was yummy. I tucked the recipe away to do again!

      • You should see my attempts at Indian food, Mae. Pitiful, really. And I had a neighbor who taught me some of her family recipes.

        BTW, just went to the store. Bought eggplant. Making it tonight or tomorrow.

    • Aww, Lauralynn you always make me feel good. And I’m delighted you’ve had a chance to meet Staci. You’re going to love all the mythology and world-building woven into Bleeding Heart. We definitely have a similar taste in books (which also explains why I enjoy yours! ).

    • Hi, Sherry. I’ve written for two different publishers so far. The first, I had no input on cover art, and they changed my title without even consulting me. The second is so much easier to work with. They haven’t changed a single title in any of the two series I’m contracted for, and they work with me on cover design—from the big picture to the tiniest of details. So I guess I have to say it depends on the publisher. With the exception of my first novel, I’ve been quite lucky.

    • Great question, Sherry! And that question for Bleeding Heart really captures the feel of the book. Just looking at it makes me want to go back and rereads sections again!

  3. Your book sounds wonderful, Staci! I am fascinated by alchemy and secret societies and love the idea of your book. Great blurb and excerpt too. Paranormal is one of my most favorite genres to read and write. I especially like the idea of the Fae being in a close alternate dimension to humans. The subsequent interaction has possibilities galore. Thanks so much for sharing Staci’s book with us, Mae.

I love comments, so please scribble a thought or two!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s