A Few of My Favorite Things with Michelle Boule (plus a #Giveaway)

Today, join me in welcoming author Michelle Boule, who’s here to talk about Letters in the Snow, the third book in her Turning Creek series. And we’ll be talking about favorite things, one of which is not zombies…she might be related to DJ!

ABOUT MICHELLE: Michelle Boule has been, at various times, a librarian, a bookstore clerk, an administrative assistant, a wife, a mother, a writer, and a dreamer trying to change the world. Michelle writes the historical fantasy series Turning Creek. She brews her own beer, will read almost anything in book form, loves to cook, bake, go camping, and believes Joss Whedon is a genius. She dislikes steamed zucchini, snow skiing, and running. Unless there are zombies. She would run if there were zombies. You can find her at A Wandering Eyre, on Twitter at @wanderingeyre, or on Facebook.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00071]ABOUT THE BOOKLetters in the Snow (Turning Creek 3): Iris is a simple postmistress in the small town of Turning Creek, Colorado. Simple, except for being a descendant of a Greek myth, having a pair of golden wings, and possessing the ability to speak prophecy. She has had her hands so full guiding the harpies towards their destinies that she has forgotten to seek out her own. …A mysterious letter from an anonymous admirer begins a correspondence that weaves itself into Iris’s heart and awakens a longing for a love of her own. The letters keep arriving, and Iris is increasingly more aware of the charms of Jacob Wells, a newcomer to Turning Creek. She wonders if the letters are from him. But even with Jacob’s charisma and the lure of a new relationship, Iris discovers the heart can’t be contained, and that her heart’s desire might be for someone who was there all along….Unfortunately for Iris, the letters and the resulting affairs of the heart are not the only perplexing things happening in Turning Creek. Something more than nature is burying the town in a deadly winter blanket, and a closely guarded secret that will change Turning Creek forever is revealed.

And now let’s hear from Michelle!

Five of My Favorite Things

By Michelle Boule

There will be no whiskers on kittens (I’m a dog person) or white dresses with blue sashes (do you know how hard it is to keep a white dress clean?) in this post. Instead, I will talk about a few of my favorite things and how they all seem to show up in my books. Art imitates life and all that.

A good cup of tea. I gave up drinking coffee all day, every day when it started affecting my sleep. I still love coffee, but I can drink hot tea all day long and still flop into bed at a reasonable hour. I am, however, picky about what kind of tea I drink. I like black tea or flavored black tea. No herbal stuff for me. I still need the caffeine. My favorite flavors are Earl Grey, Irish Breakfast, and Earl Grey Lavender.

The characters in my Turning Creek series spend a ton of time drinking tea with each other. Only one of them, Marina, really complains about having tea instead of coffee, but she simply adds a dollop of whiskey and drinks away. If they have a problem to solve or just need to relax for a while, they brew a pot of tea and sit down together. I have found that a cup of tea solves problems in the real world too.

A pint of craft beer, the darker the better. I’m a beer nerd. I’ve rearranged vacations to michelle picinclude a favorite brewery stop (or two). I’ve waited in line for a hard-to-find bottle and hunted all over town for a unique brew. My favorite styles are German, Scottish, and Belgian. If it was brewed by monks or men in kilts, I am guaranteed to love it. The darker and thicker the better (*snicker*).

Turning Creek, like any respectable western town, has its own saloon. This one is run by a Remnant (descendant) of Dionysus, so you know the drinks are high in quality and quantity.

Some people love the beach, but give me a mountain skyline any day, every day. I have lived on the coast of Texas, near Houston, my entire life. It is a flat, hot, humid swamp and, while I love the people, I hate the weather nine months out of the year. I spent many family vacations growing up in Colorado, camping in the woods and breathing in the cool, pine-tinged air. There is no place in the world I would rather be than the Rocky Mountains. They speak to my soul.

I knew I needed a western town for my wild harpies and their fellow Greek myths. I chose a region of Colorado I know well, the Leadville area, and made up the Turning Creek Valley. Now, I get to share my love of this location through my books and this makes me ridiculously happy.

I love books and I would guess that if you are here reading Suzanne’s blog, you love books too. I have problems only book people understand. All my bookcases are overflowing and I have books stashed in places that they do not belong (counters, chairs, the floor, and on top of the fridge). If I buy a new bookshelf, it is, magically and instantly, overflowing. I pass up pedicures, manicures, new shoes, flowers on Valentine’s Day, and other fun things because all I can think about is how many books I could buy with that money.

One of the characters in my series, Iris, is a postmistress and guardian to the harpies. She collects and maintains a library of Greek scrolls, parchments, and books. Like Giles from Buffy, she enlists the harpies to help her with research whenever they face a monster they do not know how to defeat.

There are few things better than sharing a meal with friends. Forget math. Food is the universal human language. (Don’t tell my engineering husband I wrote that.) Talking, laughing, and sharing life over a meal is what begins new friendships and cements old ones. I think we all need to strive to open our homes more and share this simple pleasure often.

My characters spend time over drinks and meals living life, celebrating victories, and reaffirming their connections with each other. As their small group expands with partners, friends, and children, the times they spend over meals becomes even more precious and important.

What about you? What are a few of your favorite things?

Thanks, Michelle! Okay guys, tell me a few of your favorite things! As someone who recently gave away 300-plus books in an attempt to clear a path through my house, I’m now feeling guilty. But I do love books. I love strong coffee with an unhealthy dose of sweet creamer. I love playing with paint and art supplies. I love animals. I love ginger in any form–pickled, grated, baked, or aled. Is “aled” a word? How about you? Leave a comment to win a $5 Amazon GC, and mention “Black Diamond” at the end of your comment for another entry into my ARC giveaway.

Angels, demons, Nazis and Barcelona–Meet T. Frohock and Los Nefilim

Happy Tuesday from the high reaches of the Dark Tower, as I’m currently calling my attic office. The air conditioning went out a week ago–just in my office area–and will be out another week. Did I mention it is 97 freaking degrees outside??

Sorry, I digress. One of the great things about being an author is the chance to meet other authors, in this case T. Frohock, with whom I share a terrific literary agent. T is here today to celebrate the release of Los Nefilim, the first time the three novellas of the Los Nefilim collection have appeared together in print. Happy release day!]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  T. Frohock has turned a love of dark fantasy and horror into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. She lives in North Carolina where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying….She is the author of Miserere: An Autumn Tale and numerous short stories. Her newest series, Los Nefilim, is from Harper Voyager Impulse, and contains all three novellas: In Midnight’s Silence, Without Light or Guide, and The Second Death.

You can find out more about T. at her website, or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

Next, let’s hear about the books, which are awesome, by the way, and enjoy a Q&A with the author:

LosNefilimCoverABOUT LOS NEFILIM: Collected together for the first time, T. Frohock’s three novellas–In Midnight’s Silence, Without Light or Guide, and The Second Death–brings to life the world of Los Nefilim, Spanish Nephilim that possess the power to harness music and light in the supernatural war between the angels and daimons. In 1931, Los Nefilim’s existence is shaken by the preternatural forces commanding them … and a half-breed caught in-between…..Diago Alvarez, a singular being of daimonic and angelic descent, is pulled into the ranks of Los Nefilim in order to protect his newly-found son. As an angelic war brews in the numinous realms, and Spain marches closer to civil war, the destiny of two worlds hangs on Diago’s actions. Yet it is the combined fates of his lover, Miquel, and his young son, Rafael, that weighs most heavily on his soul……Lyrical and magical, Los Nefilim explores whether moving toward the light is necessarily the right move, and what it means to live amongst the shadows.

Now, let’s welcome T….
Give us the “elevator pitch” for your latest work?

Okay, here it is, along with a quote from my favorite “I hate your book” review:

LOS NEFILIM is about “two gay guys raising a kid” while being chased by angels, daimons, and Nazis in Barcelona on the eve of the Spanish Civil War.

Describe your favorite scene in Los Nefilim? Why is it your favorite?

I loved writing the more intimate scenes between Diago and the people around him. The ones that don’t get talked about too much are the scenes between Diago and Guillermo. I have two, but the one in IN MIDNIGHT’S SILENCE is one of my favorites. It’s right at the end of the story when Diago is incapacitated from a vampire’s bite.

The other Nefilim are taking turns sitting with him through the night, and it is Guillermo who is beside him when he awakens. Diago always plays everything close to the vest, so that not even his lover Miquel always knows what he is thinking, but Guillermo has a talent for drawing Diago from his shell. Guillermo’s gentle humor guides Diago through a tough decision. The whole scene is about how Guillermo’s sanguinity balances against Diago’s inner-hate.

They are old, old friends and the scene was so wonderfully enjoyable to write, because I’m in much as love with Guillermo as Diago. They’ve both been through hard times together, and I love showing how people relate to each other through dialogue and soft moments like these.

Hardest scene you’ve ever written:

In THE SECOND DEATH when the bad guys tear Diago’s son Rafael out of his arms. That was a tough scene for a lot of reasons for me. I just tried to imagine someone fighting me for my daughter and had to grit my teeth through it. I dislike writing violent scenes, but because of the noir/thriller genre, some were needed. This was one of them, and although it was difficult to write, I was very pleased with the end result.

What’s on your nightstand?

Right now, it’s WOLF HALL by Hilary Mantel. Brilliant historical fiction. I’m also reading Ken Follet’s EYE OF THE NEEDLE, and Ian Tregillis’ BITTER SEEDS. 

Favorite book when you were a child:

Easy: WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. I used to love all of the wild things and hated it when Max went home.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD by Patricia McKillip. I have read thousands of books since then, but none where I was so thoroughly enchanted from the beginning. I felt like I had found myself and where I belonged in the world.

Most horrifying moment while reading a book:

When I got to the jackal burial in THE OMEN. I had checked out the book from the library, and I just couldn’t put it down, so it was about two in the morning when I got to the graveyard scene. Nothing seemed that horrific until they opened the coffin. It was one of the few times that the hair went straight up on my arms while reading. I put the book down after that and tried to sleep.

Hahahahaha … you can guess how well that went.

Seriously, though, the thing that scene taught me was that you didn’t need blood and gore to horrify. Good timing and atmosphere were much more important.

What’s next?

I don’t know. I’m between contracts, and while I would love to write more LOS NEFILIM, I’m not sure that is going to happen right now. I’m going to brush off an old manuscript and see if I can make it better, and then start a new novel. I believe what I need to do right now is get back in touch with my own creativity and see where I would like to go next.

That’s the adventure of it all.

Ah, it is indeed, and I’ll be reviewing one of the best books I’ve read about creativity next week, Elizabeth Gilbert’s BIG MAGIC. It makes me want to write, whereas normally, I only want to sleep. Well, I still want to sleep. Badly. But write too.

Anyway, do you have a favorite angels and or demons novel? Share it with us for a chance to win a print copy of LOS NEPHILIM!