I’m delighted to welcome Mary Raimes Curtis here today for an interview and a look at her new romantic suspense, Luscious & Lethal. Don’t forget to comment and leave your email address for a chance to win in her giveaway!
Hi, Mary, thank you for being my guest! Tell us a little about Luscious & Lethal:
Hi, Babette. I’m delighted to be here to tell you a little about myself and my new release. Luscious & Lethal is a romantic suspense and the first book in the Gilded River Chronicles. The story didn’t start out as the first in a series, but more about that later. Dani Renaldo, a full-figured model, has fought her way to success in a profession that is hell on anyone who isn’t a size two. The camera loves Dani, with her laughing eyes and vibrant personality. She is at the top of her game when disaster strikes and Dani needs to find a safe haven and a new life. Jancy’s Cove, on the shores of the Atlantic, seemed the ideal retreat. Until one night a boat slides quietly into the cove and a dangerous game begins. Of course, there is suspense and mayhem and let’s not forget the sexy neighbor who won’t take no for an answer.
What inspired this story?
I’m always intrigued by how strong women can be, even when life seems overwhelming, they manage to keep on fighting towards something better. It’s tough to beat the odds but that’s what I wanted for Dani. She’s a survivor. That is one of the reasons for developing my series. I love the arts and know some amazingly creative women who have dealt with adversities that would crush the strongest heart. They battled on. I salute them all.
What are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year?
I was sidetracked for months working on Luscious & Lethal. My first book published by MuseItUp Publishing, was Taming the Hawk, a historical romance. There were already four other historical stories waiting for that deep editing. My editor liked what she saw of one of them so I was wrestling with that when Dani popped into my head and wouldn’t let go. The story of my life, I think I’m heading along the straight and narrow when, wham—the present interferes with the past. When an idea rattles my brain I know I have to get it out of my system before my brain combusts. The outcome was, as I developed Luscious & Lethal it morphed into the first book in a series. So, instead of completing the final editing of the stories set in the Victorian era, the idea for the Chronicles sank its teeth in like a rabid vampire. The research for the second book in the Gilded River Chronicles was fascinating, including research on feral cat colonies and precious gem-set jewelry. The story includes an old love affair gone wrong, a cache of jewelry missing for decades, and a heroine who rushes in where angels know better.
What are your writing goals for this year?
I’m already into a busy schedule. My first goal is to complete the second book in the Chronicles (I’m already making notes on book three. And I will make good a promise to complete at least two of the historical WIPs. Who knows if time allows.
How do you come up with ideas?
I really have no idea where the ideas come from. They just arrive as a character or a situation or with the gleam from a cat’s eye. Sometimes I wish the ideas would slow down and let me catch up. However, I’d probably have a meltdown if they did.
What did you learn from writing your first book or what do you wish you’d known before becoming published?
Although I have been writing for a good deal of my life, writing a full-length book is very different from writing articles and pounding out stuff for client publications. When I retired to this wonderful quirky place overlooking a tidal river, I just wanted to write for myself. No deadlines, client demands, or writing hyperbole that had little basis in reality. Hell, if I was going to produce fantasies, they might as well be mine. It wasn’t easy trying to pull together all the elements needed for a good book: characters, place, action, emotion and story, just to name a few. I read books on how to, took on-line classes, and listened to the so-called experts. I floundered through a lot of bull, to put it bluntly. Then I gained the best advice of all from a man who is an acclaimed writer. He advised me to stop listening to all the things the “experts” said I shouldn’t do and just write my story. So that’s what I did.
What is your favorite memory from childhood?
Hmmnnn…an interesting question and not easy to answer. There wasn’t a lot of good stuff to look back on but I have this odd little event that happened. Although it could have been a fantasy or part of a dream, I will let you be the judge of that. I only know I was on my way to the far side of town via back alleys, the quickest route to my destination. When you are nine years old, back alleys can be fascinating, they can also be scary if the sun has gone down and there are rustlings amongst the dustbins. But this day the sun shone and I wasn’t in a hurry to arrive anywhere. I don’t know why I stopped by this one back door. The back yards in those old tenement rows were simply small concrete patches with a privy, coalhouse and tiny shed on one side and a high wall to the next house on the other. No different to the one I didn’t want to go back to. Still, this back door had a small hole at eye-height. What kid could resist? It was like looking into another world. A flowing swath of grass flowed around beds of pretty flowers and I could hear the burble of a stream tumbling over stones, although I couldn’t see it. A bright yellow butterfly danced on a rose bush and a small tree leaned against the side wall. There was the trill of birds and a soft wind touched my cheek as I took in this magical garden. There it is, a tiny wonderful moment. I tried to find that back door again but never did. Maybe that was meant to be.
These are a few of my favorite things: Good friends, the soft touch of a cat’s paw, getting that first okay from my publisher, Lea Shizaz at MuseItUp Publishing. I could go on and on, but it’s time to hook me off the stage. So, once again, Babette, thank you for allowing me to burble on like that little stream in my childhood garden.
BACK COVER BLURB
All is not what it seems in peaceful Jancy’s Cove. Renowned New York model and designer, Dani Renaldo, believes her new home on the shores of the Atlantic will provide a peaceful haven after an abusive marriage and the loss of her unborn child. But peace is a rare commodity. Someone stalks the dark shadows and a boat slides into the cove after midnight. Between unknown prowlers and an arrogant but sexy neighbour who is determined to claim her, Dani wonders if the mean streets of New York would be less hazardous to her well-being.
EXCERPT FROM LUSCIOUS & LETHAL
A deep angry male voice growled from behind Dani. “Sorry, I’m late Laura. I had a problem with my car, and got into a confrontation with a blousy witch who thought she owned the road. I’m pretty sure it’s her rust heap parked in my spot. It took a while to find another place to park.”
On hearing that distinctive voice, Dani wished she was somewhere else.
Laura looked at her, a faint blush staining her face as realization dawned on her. “Oh dear, is this the ape you spoke of, Dani?”
Dani gave a little hum. “Yep, that sounds like the beast.” She swivelled her chair around to see the primate who gave her a hard time at the gas station that morning. Six foot and more of glowering testosterone stood in the doorway.
“You!” He seemed to have trouble finding further words as stormy grey eyes took her in from tangled curls to wet boots.
Dani shrugged. “When I passed the mirror this morning it was definitely me looking back. I didn’t look like a blousy witch at the time. Perhaps it’s the pubescent drivers on the road that caused me to blossom into a wild-eyed hag.”
Laura hurried to introduce them. “Dani, this is my partner and cousin, Simon Morse. He’s usually not quite so charmless.” Her effort was wasted.
He stalked across the floor and leaned down to place large hands on the arms of Dani’s chair. His eyes pinned hers. “Can’t you read? The sign on the parking spot you stole clearly says, Simon Morse. You owe me for the parking meter and for wasted time. Pay up.”
Dani could feel the heat of his breath on her face and smell the sharp tang of spicy cologne and warm male in damp clothing. She could hear Laura’s voice in the background trying to intervene. He still looked down at her, but his eyes were no longer stormy, they lingered on her mouth, dropped to her full breasts then slid up to take in her mass of tumbled hair and skimmed back to her mouth.
She pushed away the taint of fear at his closeness, acknowledging it was residue from her husband’s abuse. But she couldn’t help crossing her arms as she used to when she was twelve and had no wish for the boys in the playground to ogle her already well-developed breasts. It was a ridiculously juvenile reaction. After all, during her modelling career, she’d worn everything from gowns slit thigh high and slinky nightwear so diaphanous a freckle could show through. She stood and pushed the chair back out of his grasp. He was caught by surprise and almost fell over.
His look was hot enough to sear steak. Dani gathered her spiralling wits. “You really should be more careful, and it really isn’t a good idea to get behind the wheel of a car when you’ve just climbed out of the jungle.” Her voice was sugar sweet.
She turned to Laura who had a stunned expression on her face. “Perhaps we should postpone our business discussion for another time, Laura.”
Before the other woman could answer, the simmering ape growled, “Yarns & More only deals with legitimate business people, not half-baked broads who probably sports full body tattoos and consorts with known felons.”
“Oh dear, I didn’t think it showed. It is very discreet you know.” Dani fluttered her eyelashes at the annoying man.
Dani grinned and patted a spot over her left breast. “My tattoo.”
“What kind of tattoo?” He scowled as if suddenly realizing such a question was highly inappropriate.
She picked up her purse and turned to the other woman, who looked as if she would like to throw something very hard and lethal at her partner.
Dani said softly, “Sorry, Laura. I think it would be best to call it a day.” She turned to Morse, who had an oddly disconcerting look on his face. “I apologize for taking your parking spot. I truly didn’t see a sign.” She pushed her hand in her jeans pocket, placed some coins on the table. “For the parking meter, send me a bill for your time.” Deviltry made her add, “I imagine apes can expect no more than minimum wage.”
There was silence as she limped through to the front of the shop and went out into the blustery wind that spattered her face with stinging rain drops.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As a child I had a rampant imagination. How could it be otherwise growing up between the shores of the cold North Sea and the Yorkshire moors? Sadly my young story telling ability was not appreciated. Age brings a certain amount of freedom, so here I am once more indulging my imagination. Now I write sitting by a window overlooking a Nova Scotia tidal river. It’s winter and ice rims the shoreline of the small bay. The genesis of Luscious & Lethal, the first book in the Gilded
River Chronicles, began just out there as spring leaned towards summer. The idea was to tell the story of four women from Away who came to this shoreline to make a new life. The first was Dani, of Luscious & Lethal. Now, as the cold Atlantic fog rolls in, I’m working on Anna’s story. Anna, an artist who helps run a feral cat spay and neuter program, discovers that abandoned barns hide secrets that are more lethal than the claws of a wild cat. Stay tuned for the second story in the Gilded River Chronicles.
WHERE TO GET YOUR COPY
Mary’s earlier book, Taming the Hawk, a historical romance with a hard edge, is also available from MIU and Amazon
FIND MARY CURTIS ON
Also, check out her website at: http://maryraimescurtis.com
Please leave a comment and you will be included in the draw for an e-copy of Luscious & Lethal.