Gearing up for Halloween

silhouette of black cat sitting on tree branch at night in front of a large orange moonSpooky things are afoot!

I’m always jazzed this time of year, inspired by the numerous bump-in-the-night ghostie and goblin posts that pop up in the blogosphere. For someone who loves folklore and legend, October is a month for feasting on myth!

There are a variety of events taking place in the online world. I’m excited to be participating in two that really appealed to me.

Today, I’m visiting Teri Polen during her month-long Bad Moon Rising feature. All month long, you can meet new authors, discover new reads, and have trick-or-treat fun with the Halloween questions Teri poses for her guest. I hope you’ll pop over and say hello while I’m hanging out with Teri today.

Next week, I’ll be visiting Melanie Noell Bernard who is doing a month-long paranormal event called Hallo-WE-en that features creatures. Each day you’ll get to meet a different beastie. Today, my good friend and critique partner, Staci Troilo, shares the history and folklore of gargoyles at Melanie’s haunt in the blogosphere.

So, get your ghostie on and celebrate Halloween!

Did Someone Say Friday?

Silly goose looking directly at cameraThe end of the week is a great opportunity to look back over the past several days and take measure our accomplishments. Unfortunately, mine were close to nil. :(  I did manage to eke out a single scene on my WIP, but considering the goal was a chapter, the results are pathetic.

In my defense, the week has been unusually chaotic. I’ve had a work crew at my home since Monday, installing new zoned heat and a/c units. The job is supposed to be finished today—hooray!—but the weekend I wanted to spend writing will probably be spent cleaning. You can’t have a work crew without dust. Lots of dust. Guess what I’ll be doing tomorrow?

I’m not the only one running low on patience. Raven has been forced to spend eight hours each day in the basement while servicemen tramp in and out of the house (I won’t risk her sneaking outside if someone accidentally leaves a door open). We’ve tried to make her confinement as inviting as possible, arranging a “snuggle area” with one of her beds and a blanket. I elevated them on chairs so she’s not on the floor. She has water and food, and I even added a few toys and her red “cube” for lounging.

black cat in pink cube with cat toy

Raven in her pink cube. Besides this and the red cube, she also has a blue one. Can we say spoiled?

Bribes aside, she is NOT a happy camper. She can’t watch birds from the basement, sprawl in the sunlight, or stretch out in the bow window. A rough week in catdom.

The only benefit she’s enjoyed is the daily fussing we do to make up for her morning and afternoon exile. You can see why this Friday is more welcome than usual—I want my house back! So does Raven!

In the meantime, I’m at Story Empire today sharing the weekly Curated Writing Content gathered by the SE authors. While you’re celebrating Friday in the blogosphere, drop in and see what we’ve collected. And in case you missed SE’s earlier posts, Staci Troilo took a fabulous look at Fictional Fathers, and I trotted out My Problematic Word.

Happy Friday!

Cat Toys and Author Tools

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. I spent half of mine visiting with family and the other half trying to be productive on my WIP (more on that project in a later post).

Of course, I had to make time for the Kentucky Derby, something DH and I never miss. It was a rainy day in Kentucky with a muddy track, and and equally rainy day in PA.

I bought some new play toys for my cat, Raven, called Neko Flies. They’re by far and away the best cat toys I’ve ever purchased, sheer genius on the part of whoever designed them. Picture a fishing rod with a life-like lure on the end. I bet the inventor was fiddling around with tackle one day when his or her cat went crazy.

Raven loves to stalk and hunt and turns into a predatory demon anytime she sees a bug, so as soon as I spied Neko Flies, I knew they were golden. Has anyone else tried these for their cats?

I picked up the Kattiepede and Kragonfly. The Kragonfly has beautiful iridescent wings (the picture on the website doesn’t do it justice). Next up, I’d like to get the Katarantula. You can order online or through Amazon, but I found Neko Flies at my local pet store. I have the regular wand, but want to get the telescoping rod, which looks like a small fishing rod. It’s currently out of stock at the store and online. What I don’t do for my cat—she is so spoiled—but, boy, is she getting her exercise! Including performing complex aerial acrobatics on a regular basis.

And speaking of being spoiled, it’s time to spoil yourself with today’s resource material on Story Empire where Staci Troilo shares Part 3 of her series on Author Media kits. Her topic is One Sheet and Author Biographies. As always, Staci delivers an information packed post with guidance, examples, and suggestions on implementing. Enjoy!

Staci Troilo with a Deleted Scene from Bleeding Heart #StoryEmpireRoadshow

Hey, everyone! It’s the last day of our Story Empire Roadshow Bookmobile blog tour. The week went so fast, I can’t believe it’s winding down so soon. Even though the fun is ending, I have a fabulous post from my wonderful friend and SE sister, Staci Troilo to close things out. She’s got a number of goodies to share with you too, so let’s close this Roadshow out with a bang! 🙂


Hi, Mae. Thanks for hosting me today. And hi, Mae’s followers. It’s nice to be back here with you today.

We’ve been making the rounds on the Story Empire Roadshow, and this is my last stop. I’ve been talking about my Medici Protectorate series, and I thought I’d close out with a deleted scene. This was originally the opening, but as many writers will tell you, sometimes your beginning starts too far back. So, the beginning to Bleeding Heart starts a little farther along the timeline. I also considered using this as a prologue, but it wasn’t necessary; the relevant information from this scene is organically revealed throughout the series.

But I really liked this scene, and I didn’t want to get rid of it entirely. The interplay between the guys reveals a lot about their characters. Reading it might give you a good idea of who the Brothers are. Without further ado, here’s the deleted opening to Bleeding Heart, book one of the Medici Protectorate series.

“Okay, Vinnie. Good job. Gianni, sweep… now watch for the—”

“Oooph.” Gianni took a bo staff thrust to the right side, and his breath left him with a whoosh. He took a knee on the mat and struggled for air while Nico and Coz stood snickering, waiting for their turns, and his sparring partner Vinnie leaned on his staff and grinned. Their instructor showed about as much amusement as Gianni felt.

Silhouette of two men engaged in martial arts“He gets you every time.” Marcus offered Gianni a hand and hoisted him to his feet. “Just because you’re on the attack doesn’t mean you can let your guard down.”

“He’s not left-handed. It doesn’t seem natural for him to thrust leading left.”

“You aren’t left-handed. You attack on the left.”

Gianni rubbed his side. It was going to be bruised. Again. Vinnie didn’t hold back. He narrowed his eyes and squared off.

“Bring it.” Vinnie grinned and spun his staff in front of him.

“Hey, it’s our turn,” Coz said.

Marcus stepped between Gianni and Vinnie and pushed them each back a step. “Ladies, stand down. Your sisters want a go.”

Usually talk like that would garner equally sarcastic retorts, but Gianni was grateful for the break.

Vinnie must have been tired too, because he bowed and gestured to the sparring arena. “Have at it, girls.” Then he joined Gianni against the wall. Marcus stayed on the mats to coach Nico and Coz through their fight.

“Did I get you too hard?”

No way was Gianni admitting his pain to Vinnie. “Nah, I’m fine. Just tired. It’s wicked hot in here today.”

“No argument there.”

Usually the men wore full dobaks, or martial arts uniforms in the gym, but that day they had all stripped off their shirts, even Marcus, and were battling in nothing but the wide-legged black pants. While Marcus worked with Nico and Coz, Enrico taught a young black belt class across the gym. Poor kids didn’t have the luxury of working shirtless. Rico kept them in their full uniforms.

Gianni rubbed his side until he and Vinnie got up for round two. Just before they started, Paolo came in with a young boy in tow. “Marcus, this is Ben. He’s going to start training with us. Ben, this is Marcus, one of my partners and an instructor here. And these are four of our associates, Gianni, Vinnie, Nico, and Bobby.”

“Everyone calls me Coz.” No one called him Bobby except Paolo, and Gianni suspected Coz didn’t care much for it.

Paolo grinned at Coz over Ben’s head, but Ben didn’t pay attention to any of it. He stared at Marcus’s chest. “Cool tattoo, man. Does it have any special significance?”

Marcus grabbed a towel off the floor and hung it around his neck, covering the ink with the tail of the cloth and his hands as they grasped the edges.

Students in a martial arts class watching two men practicePaolo turned Ben toward Enrico and the young black belt class. “First, you should learn right away we don’t address elders here as ‘man’ or ‘dude’ or any other nonsense. Second, we need to let these gentlemen get back to their training. Let’s go meet Enrico and the students who are more your age. You should be at their level in about three years.”

They turned to walk away, and Marcus donned his dobak shirt, securing the waist with a plain black belt. The lack of stripes didn’t mean anything. Everyone used plain black belts in the gym, but they all had embroidered ones with their names and ranks for competition. Marcus had a belt in his possession with seven stripes on it. Gianni’s and his brothers’ belts had six each.

While Marcus dressed, his cell phone beeped. So did Paolo’s. Quick glances at their screens caused them both to frown then exchange worried looks. Enrico left his class and joined them. A senior instructor had already taken over his class. The three men bowed their heads together and discussed the message in hushed tones.

Gianni nudged Vinnie and caught his attention, but he looked as puzzled as Gianni felt.

Paolo turned back toward his young charge. “Ben, go sit in that room and watch those boys. Someone will be with you shortly.” He shoved the boy toward the class Rico had abandoned and gestured to a senior black belt to assist the new student.

Marcus turned to Gianni and the others. “Keep practicing. Bo staff, not daggers. At least another hour. We need to go.” And he, Paolo, and Enrico ran out of the gym without any further explanation.

“What the hell do you think that was all about?” Vinnie asked.

“It’s gotta be something for work,” Gianni said.

“Yeah, but which work?” Coz asked.

Since they had graduated college, they had been hired at MDH, a multi-national conglomerate with offices in Italy, the United States, and Argentina. The three men who had just left, plus one who wasn’t there, had been their mentors since they had been young boys, training them in martial arts, getting them into elite colleges, making inroads for them at MDH, and even helping them get graduate degrees in their respective fields. There had been talk of another job that they were being groomed for, but no one would give the guys more information. Gianni suspected it had something to do with the tattoo Marcus had.

On Marcus’s left pec, near his heart, was the outline of a dagger. All four of the mentors had them. Marcus’s was white, Enrico’s was green, and Paolo’s was black. Sal, the mentor that Gianni was closest to, had a red one. The daggers were simple enough when you looked at them, yet there was something exquisite about them. Each one of them alone was a true work of art, but for the few people who had ever seen them when the men were all together, they were stunning. Each pointed in a different direction, as though they were parts of a whole picture. Gianni didn’t know the significance of the colors or the directions—even Sal wouldn’t tell him—but he was certain they had to do with the other job the Sal kept alluding to. The most he could get out of him was that Gianni and his brothers were likely the chosen, and they’d learn about it all when the time was right.

Whatever that was supposed to mean.

“Well, if it was important and had to do with MDH, you’d think one of us would have been notified,” Nico said. “We cover pretty much the whole company. We definitely overlap their departments.”

“That leaves the other job. Whatever it is,” Vinnie said. “What do you think it is?”

“My luck it’s something illegal,” Coz said.

“Why would you say that?” Nico asked.

Coz shrugged. “Track record.”

“Sal wouldn’t do anything illegal.”

“There goes Gianni with his man-crush again.” Vinnie put his bo staff down and grabbed a dagger.

“I don’t have a man-crush.” Gianni grabbed a dagger and squared off against Vinnie.

“Didn’t Marcus say we were supposed to practice staff for another hour?” Nico asked.

“Are you going to tell?” Vinnie continued circling Gianni.

“I like daggers better, anyway.” Coz grabbed the remaining staffs and put them away. He selected two daggers and offered one to Nico, keeping the other for himself.

Nico sighed but accepted it.

“So, when do you think they’ll tell us what’s really going on?” Vinnie struck at Gianni. “Those guys are getting old. It’ll be our turn soon enough.”

Gianni started circling. “Old? They’re in prime fighting condition.”

“We’re in prime fighting condition,” Vinnie said. “They’re in great shape for their age, but they’re not young anymore. If they need to fight for their job, they’re past prime.”

Gianni swept Vinnie’s legs and held the dagger to his throat. “Submit?”

Vinnie tapped out.

“They can still kick our asses.” He helped Vinnie up and immediately tripped him again. He pointed his dagger to Vinnie’s throat, but Vinnie just laughed.

Then Coz swore. Nico had cut this left bicep, and it gushed.

“Sorry. Let’s go stitch it up.” They left their daggers behind and went to the medical room for Nico to clean and stitch Coz’s arm.

Most of the men at the gym had wounds in some stage of healing. They had all gone through medic training and could administer CPR as well as stitch wounds. A few of them had performed minor surgeries on occasion.

Gianni and Vinnie continued practicing dagger drills and speculating what the big secret was. Nico and Coz returned in ten minutes and rejoined the practice and the conversation.

None of them came close to guessing the big secret, but they’d learn it all too soon.

So, there you have it. Something that happened before what happens, if you get what I mean. I appreciate the chance to share this scene with you and to close out the tour on familiar ground. Thanks for having me here today!


To show my gratitude, I’m offering two prizes to commenters.

One commenter will receive a free eBook of their choosing, not just from the Medici Protectorate series (although you can choose one of those), but from any of my works (the complete list can be found by clicking here).

Another commenter (US only) will be sent a Medici Protectorate gift pack. Every day this week I gave away a little Medici swag. Today, one commenter gets the whole bunch: bookmark, refrigerator magnet, pen, and sticky note pad. Good luck!

Swag gift pack from author Staci Troilo


display ad for the Medici Protectorate book series by Staci Troilo

Medici Protectorate Series
Premise:
The four Notaro sisters are the secret legacy of the Medici, famed rulers of Italy. Michelangelo promised his Medician benefactor that he’d always watch over the family, and as such, he formed the Medici Protectorate to guard them throughout the generations. Now, Italy is in political turmoil and revolution is imminent. The people are calling for new rulers, and the Notaros are poised to assume control. But a nefarious opposing faction wants the power for themselves. Never was the family in more jeopardy. The four sisters are protected by the Brotherhood—four elite warriors of the Medici Protectorate prophesied to keep the family safe until they fulfill their destinies. They journey around the world in an effort to keep the family safe and the future of Italy secure.

Book One
Bleeding Heart: Gianni, a warrior destined to defend the secret legacy of the Medici, protects his charge Francesca from a prophesied assassin. Their worlds collide in passion and violence, and he must conquer her fears and his demons in time to save them both.

Bleeding Heart is only $.99 throughout the duration of the tour.
Click the universal link for purchase information.

Book Two
Mind Control: Vinnie copes with his own identity issues while he struggles to protect the one prophesized Medici descendant, Jo, who refuses to embrace her heritage. With lives in peril, can they find the strength to overcome their tragic pasts, or is it too late?

Mind Control is only $1.99 throughout the duration of the tour.
Click the universal link for purchase information.

Book Three
Body Armor: Nico works to increase his powers and save the Notaro family matriarch, but his private agendas put his charge Donni’s life at risk. When secrets and lies result in three abductions, the group will need to place their trust him to save them all.

Biography box for author, Staci Trolio

Social Media Links:
Web | Blog | Newsletter Signup | Twitter | Amazon | Additional Social Media Links

Continue to follow the Story Empire Roadshow at these
blogs for more giveaways, prizes and fun!

Staci Troilo | C. S. Boyack | Harmony Kent | Joan Hall | P. H. Solomon

 

Are You Missing Out?

Open memo book with eyeglasses and penIt’s Monday and the beginning of the last week in March. Although it’s rainy in my corner of the world, the temperatures are beginning to climb and there are even rumors of a gorgeous day tomorrow. Not too shabby for kicking off a new week :)

And, of course, a new week brings a brand new post on Story Empire. Today, Staci Troilo addresses what your author website is likely missing. This is an informative post you won’t want to miss. I know it reminded me of something I’ve neglected to do.

How about you?  Is your author website all that it should be? Hop over to Story Empire to see what you may have overlooked.

And the Winners are…

Hi, gang. The Paranormal Bar and Grille Tour is over. Can you believe it’s almost Thanksgiving? Sheesh! Where does time go?

Anyway, thanks to everyone who went belly up to the bar before last call. On behalf of myself, Staci Troilo, Craig Boyack, Sandra Cox and Harmony Kent, we were glad to see you there and hope you had as much fun as we did.

Paranormal Bar & Grille

And now for all those treats I promised! 🙂 My scavenger hunt winners are:

Amazon $15 Gift Card: jjspina
Amazon $10 Gift Card: Jasmine
eBook copy of either Eclipse Lake, Food for Poe or Solstice Island: Julie Holmes

If you haven’t already received an email from me about your prize, expect to see one shortly!

The group and I also did two tours through the month of October (one even flopping over into November).

The winner of the “Reading is my Addiction” tour is “Kate” (no last name provided) who gets a $30 Amazon gift card.

The winner of the “Goddess Fish” tour is Kristen Burns, who won our ultimate prize, a $50 Amazon gift card.

Congrats to Kristen, Kate, Julie, Jasmine and jjspina. If you’d like to get a gander at the scavenger hunt winners for the other authors, just hop over to Story Empire. Thanks again and keep your eye peeled for more fun offerings from the Story Empire group in the months ahead!

Welcome to the Paranormal Bar and Grille #ScavengerHunt #Giveaway

Welcome, traveler! The authors of Story Empire (Staci Troilo, C.S. Boyack, Sandra Cox, Harmony Kent and I) have a huge Halloween giveaway kicking off today. There are multiple gift cards and ebooks up for grabs, plus lots of fun with several scavenger hunts.

You’ll find us hanging out at the Paranormal Bar & Grille, a spooky establishment with a questionable clientele. Well, questionable if you consider vampires, gargoyles, witches, creatures of urban legend and other supernatural beings unusual. Grab a tankard at the bar, sit down for a chat, and then embark on the scavenger hunts, collecting goodies along the way.close up of bar with old bottles and urns

You can find the main page here with links at the bottom to each of the individual scavenger hunts we’re offering. Each hunt offers you the chance to win a $15.00 Amazon gift card, a $10.00 Amazon gift card and multiple ebooks. That’s fifteen, not too shabby, chances to win.

And there’s more…

We’ve also booked a month long blog tour through Reading Addiction Tours that begins today and runs through November 4th. Discover excerpts from our books, reviews and purchase links at multiple stops. At the end of the tour we’ll be awarding a $30.00 gift card to Amazon. Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter drawings at each blog to increase your chances to win. You can follow the tour here.

paranormalbarandgrille_zpsyewb54s6

Finally, on October 31st we’ll be doing a one day Halloween blast through Goddess Fish Promotions. One lucky winner will walk away with a $50.00 Amazon gift card. You can check the Story Empire site or any of our individual blogs on the 31st for links to the blast.

And if you haven’t picked up your copy of MACABRE SANCTUARY yet, a collection of spooky tales in which four of the Story Empire authors are featured, snatch up your FREE copy and start reading.

Happy Halloween!

Once upon a time…

There were five authors with a passion for writing and story-telling who decided to band together and create a blog where they could share their love of the written word with the world. They didn’t set out to create an empire, just a small pocket of the blogosphere where others with similar interests might gather.

But then they realized how powerful writing could be, and that there were SO MANY writers, authors, and readers who might enjoy coming together and visiting their humble abode that they envisioned an empire. A place where writers could go to talk craft. Where readers could discover books—not only from the five authors—but from works that had impacted the lives of those authors.

Thus Story Empire was born

old world type map with script writing laid over top and words Story Empire set off as a bold header

I invite you to join me, Craig Boyack, Staci Troilo, Harmony Kent and Sandra Cox as we explore realms of fiction and more. We’ve got some fun stuff planned, including a few giveaways that will be coming up next month. For starters, you can find a post from me on the pros and cons about writing a series. Weigh in with your comments. We’d love to hear from you.

And don’t forget to click the “Follow” button while you’re there. You’ll get viewpoints from five different authors over time, view great content, discuss books, and network with many other wonderful writers.

Once upon a time…is now!

Staci Troilo on Story Inspiration and Gargoyles

Hi, friends. Today, I’m delighted to welcome Staci Troilo back to my blog with her latest release, LOVE SET IN STONE. I read this novel shortly after release and was immediately taken by the blend of paranormal elements in an urban setting. The character development is wonderful with one character in particular quickly stealing my heart. You can find my five star review on Amazon. In the meantime, please welcome Staci back with a great post on story inspiration and a special favorite of mine—gargoyles!

~ooOOoo~

Hi, Mae. Thanks for inviting me back to your site. And hello again, Mae’s friends. I appreciate you giving me a few minutes of your time today.

People often ask me where I get my ideas for my stories, probably because I write in several different genres. Truth is, my ideas come from all over the place. Weird dreams, conversations I overhear, stories my kids tell me, song lyrics, family history… the list goes on and on, and could probably become a blog post—or several blog posts—itself.

Today, I want to talk about the inspiration for my newest novel, Love Set in Stone. There are a few supernatural elements in that story (an angel, a fallen angel, and a gargoyle), but the inspiration for the novel came from a poem I read by Dav Pilkey called “God Bless the Gargoyles”.

In that particular work, there are no fallen angels. In fact, there are no romances, no criminals, no police detectives, no curses, no trips to hell. Yes, my novel has all these elements, and a lot more woven into the plot to turn this glimmer of an idea into a full-length novel.

What “God Bless the Gargoyles” does have is something that inspires me. After I read the poem, I was haunted by the image of these poor gargoyles who wanted to do nothing more than help the humans they watched over, and how sad they were when the humans turned on them. How the only friends they were left with were the angels in the clouds with them.

Believe me, my adult PNR novel is nothing like the children’s poem. But that one concept in the poem—the guardian angel and the gargoyle—stuck with me. And I think it’s proof that you can find inspiration for any kind of novel in the most unlikely places. Even for a paranormal romance in a children’s poem.

Book cover for Love Set in Stone by Staci Troilo shows a young woman with the image of a man and gargoyle behind herExcerpt:

“Damien?”

Damien jumped at the sound of Anael’s voice. He spun around to find the angel standing there. He didn’t float, he didn’t glow. Didn’t even smile like he usually did.

But he was there.

“Are you all right?” Damien asked. “I’ve been worried.”

“You didn’t make me break the rules, Damien. I chose to.”

“Because I was being stubborn.”

“It doesn’t matter. It was my choice.”

“I didn’t think angels had freewill.”

“How do you think we got the fallen? Sometimes we’re left to our own devices. And sometimes, we choose wrong.”

Damien tried and failed to shrug off the chills creeping up his spine. When he spoke, his voice croaked, barely above a whisper. “Did I make you… fall?”

“Stop worrying about me.”

“I’m sorry.” He was. Profoundly so.

Anael turned away from Damien and walked to the edge of the roof. He looked out over the lights of the city, didn’t turn around when he spoke.

“Damien. You need to forget about new terms to your contract. Operate as though nothing has changed.”

“If I’m not getting to renegotiate, then nothing has changed.”

Anael didn’t turn around.

“Anael? Has something changed?”

“Claim your destiny, Damien. And let me worry about mine.”

With that, the angel disappeared.

Damien called out to him, but he never returned.

A quick roll of his head released the tension in his neck. For about two seconds. Then the stress settled back on him, heavier than the stone of his alter ego.

Anael was in trouble. Because of him.

And the terms of his deal were absolute. Claim his destined future or forfeit his eternity.

Without the angel, without new terms, he had no choice.

So there’s a brief glimpse at Damien and Anael, the gargoyle and angel in Love Set in Stone, a PNR inspired by a children’s poem of all things. My advice to writers? Keep your eyes and ears peeled… you never know where inspiration will come from. And my advice to people who know writers? Be careful… you never know what about you might become fodder for your writer friend’s next work. 😉

Love Set in Stone Purchase Information:

Available now: Amazon | B&N |Kobo | Inktera | Scribd | 24 Symbols
Coming soon: iBooks | Paperback

Author Bio
Author Staci Troilo in a candid pose
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 or connect with her on social media.

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

 

Guest Blogger: Staci Troilo on Love Stories and Fathers

I’m super excited about today’s guest blogger. Staci Troilo has become a good friend in a short time, and wow, does she have a great post to share today! I was excited when I saw the title. Why? Because, as a writer, all of my books place a strong emphasis on family relationships, with the vast majority involving a father-figure in one manner or another. And if that isn’t enough, Staci discusses the difference between…well, you’ll just have to read and see for your yourself, as I don’t want to lessen the impact of this marvelous post.

Please welcome back Staci Troilo with Love Stories and Fathers

~ooOOoo~

Hi, Mae. Thanks for asking me back. And hi, everyone. I appreciate you giving me a few moments of your time today.

The working title for the first novel I wrote was Daddy Issues. I say “working title” because the publisher didn’t like it for a mystery. At the time, I thought they were insane. That title was perfect. Now I’m on the fence. True, it’s not the standard mystery title, but given the humor in the book, its originality could work in the story’s favor. But it’s a moot point. They changed the title to Mystery Heir. That title doesn’t really do anything for me, but what’s done is done.

Why am I telling you all this?

a surgeon in cap, mask and gownMy first novel had all kinds of dads—from the idyllic Brady Bunch dad to the epitome of a deadbeat. In my new release, Out and About, I’ve got two domineering fathers. A doctor and a lawyer, both successful, both opinionated, and both with definite thoughts about their kids.

I call this series mainstream fiction, but the novels in it are really love stories. Not romances, but love stories.

What’s the difference?

Some say a romance has a happily-ever-after ending, but love stories endings aren’t so cut-and-dried. Others say romances start before the couple is together and end when they commit to each other, where love stories start with a couple who is already together, but in a troubled relationship.

I don’t know that any of that matters. In my romances, there is often a lot of other stuff going on, but the story couldn’t exist without the relationship arc. In my love stories, if we took the relationship out of the equation, we would still have a story. Possibly a different story with a different focus, but still a story.

I always identified myself as a romance writer. But a few years ago, my agent told me the NY market was saturated. Editors said my writing was sound, but they just didn’t have an opening for me. So she asked me to switch genres. I was sad. Then angry. I resisted, then I acquiesced, only to feel like a sell-out. I finally fired my agent and started working with a small press who loved the concept of my Medici Protectorate romance series. But I had made so much progress on my mainstream novel, I decided to finish it. Not that it was easy. I resisted that story from nearly beginning to end.

Then the most amazing thing happened.

I fell in love with it. Once it wasn’t a requirement for me to complete but a labor of love, I was hooked. The result was Type and Cross, a love story that went on to receive a 5-star rating from Readers’ Favorite. Fans adore that story. And I got hooked on those characters.

That begrudged standalone novel became the first book in one of my favorite series to write.

Out and About, book two of what is now called the Cathedral Lake series, was a joy to write. The words just flowed. And yes, it’s another love story. Why not a romance? Because the real story is about two people with daddy issues, who get caught up in a dangerous situation, who have to address their relationships with their families and their positions in their professional fields.

Two people who may be in love. But that’s not really what the story is about.

Silhouette of a couple embracing on the shore of a lakeWhat is it about? Here’s the description:

Freedom from jail. Freedom from family.

Jensen Keller covets freedom. Probably because he doesn’t have any. He’s abided by his father’s every whim for years. Until the one time he rebelled. And nearly lost his family. Now he’s been summoned back to Cathedral Lake only to discover freedom has been granted to the one person who should be eternally denied it—Wade Unger, the man responsible for his sister’s death.

Bella Perish wants nothing more than to be free from her domineering father. In an unexpected turn of events, she’s not only granted freedom from him—autonomy is forced on her. And her budding relationship with Jensen looks like collateral damage. As she works to repair the relationships that matter most to her, her new found independence is compromised. Worse, her very life is threatened.

An account of repression, revelation, bravery, and contrition, Out and About chronicles the merits and miseries of freedoms denied and gained.

If that interests you, perhaps you’ll enjoy this brief excerpt:

Book cover for Out and About by Staci Troilo with open handcuffs and a bullet blast hole“Why didn’t you tell me you were a defense attorney?”

“Why didn’t you tell me your family was a victim of a crime?”

“Who walks around saying that?” His words, too loud for a private discussion, carried through the hallway and caused people to turn their gazes on him. He grabbed her arm, pulled her aside, away from the crowd, and lowered his voice. “Seriously. When people first meet, they discuss their careers. They don’t mention the most horrible events in their histories. That’s at least a third date discussion.”

She scoffed. “That’s not my understanding of what happens on a third date.”

He gritted his teeth, clenched his fists. “Now’s not the time, Bella. You should have said something.”

“I told you I work for my father. That’s he’s difficult. If you were really interested, you could have looked us up. Then you would have known.”

“How? You never even told me your last name.”

That left her momentarily speechless. When she finally spoke, her tone sounded resigned. “You’re right. I guess I didn’t. I felt like I was really getting to know you. It didn’t occur to me that I never gave you my full name. Or asked yours. Which, by the way, you never volunteered.”

Jensen sighed. “Yeah, well, that part’s not all your fault.”

“So, are we good?”

His mouth popped open, and he had to make a determined effort to close it. “You’re kidding, right?”

“What? It was just a little misunderstanding.”

“A little—” He ran his hand through his hair. “Bella, I’m here to try to keep a man behind bars. A man who killed my sister and nearly destroyed my family. How can I possibly be involved with the woman working to set him free?”

So that’s a glimpse into Out and About, available now on Amazon and iBooks, and coming soon to Barnes and Noble. If you like drama, mystery, and of course love, I hope you’ll check it out.

About Staci:
Author Staci Troilo in a candid pose
Staci Troilo has always loved fiction, ever since her parents read her fairy tales when she was little. Today, her interest 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, sign up for her newsletter, or connect with her on social media.

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