Guest Post: Author Donna Del Oro on Cautionary Tales

Today’s special guest at Reading Reality is Donna Del Oro, the author of The Delphi Bloodline, a compelling (see review here) mix of romantic suspense and edge-of-your-seat thriller with just a touch of the paranormal.

Donna is here to tell us a bit about the ways she worked some of the current theories about psychic awareness into her fictional characters in The Delphi Bloodline.

Donna Del Oro: Behind THE DELPHI BLOODLINE; Questions about ESP

Sixty percent of Americans, according to parapsychology studies cited in the book, Psychic Awareness, claim to have had experiences they would call psychic. Those experiences might be: Hunches about your or someone else’s future; physical clues that alert you to danger or wrong decisions; intuitive feelings that guide you correctly through life; and/or receiving information through physical sensations, thoughts, visions or emotions. It could be a prickly sensation at the back of your neck about a particular person, place or thing. Or a warm feeling at the thought of a good decision. If you’ve experienced any of the above, then you’re in touch with your psychic abilities.

My heroine, Athena Butler in THE DELPHI BLOODLINE, has already moved beyond the “I know but I don’t know how I know” psychic awareness, where most of us are at. Through her gifted mother’s instruction and guidance, Athena—the modern-day descendant of an ancient, psychically powerful bloodline of women—knows HOW and WHY she knows. She’s a talented clairvoyant who sees visions and is able to access information simply by touching a person. This clairvoyance might take the form of reading that person’s thoughts or by seeing into that person’s past.

While this ability of hers has caused her to lose boyfriends—who resent her intrusion into their privacy—her clairvoyance also alerts her to danger. When a handsome stranger approaches her in a Reno hotel gallery, where she is painting dead celebrities like Elvis and Frank Sinatra, Athena shakes his hand. Immediately, visions of his dark, violent past assail her, warning her that he is an impostor and even worse, that he means her harm.

Thus begins a threat that forces Athena to flee for her life. With the help of Kas Skoros, a tall, dark-haired man who claims to be a Guardian of the Delphi bloodline, they begin a journey of running, hiding and finally fighting back. As more psychics all over the country continue to disappear, the FBI is stymied. What’s happening to these psychics?  Why are they disappearing?  Who’s kidnapping them?  Athena’s mother believes the mastermind has something to do with a White House dinner she attended months before.

The three remaining descendants of the bloodline—Athena, her mother and Kas’s mother—are the only ones who can uncover the truth behind these kidnappings.

So what’s the origin of such psychic abilities? Are these talents truly genetic, do they run in families, as I suggest in my novel?  Do they originate from an all-seeing God, as Athena’s mother believes? Do they come from an omniscient spirit world? Another dimension of energy as yet unexplored by man, as Athena believes? Or are they simply physical, biochemical reactions in the brain, as some neuroscientists suggest? Do brain waves play a role, as some parapsychologists have studied?

Sorry to disappoint you, but experts have no definitive answers to those questions. Theories abound and what I put forth in THE DELPHI BLOODLINE is just one theory. There are many theories about psychic abilities, but no scientific proof.

Not yet, anyway.

What the scientific experiments (and I include some of these experiments in my novel) do prove is that these abilities exist in varying degrees among all of us.  These are human abilities, like innate skills in art and music. Some of us can strum a few chords on a ukelele; others among us can write symphonies, like Beethoven and Gershwin. Some of us can paint by numbers; others become Titian, Michaelangelo and Da Vinci.

The true psychics among us—not the charlatans—exercise and develop their skills quietly and without fanfare or greed. For they know their gifts come with cautionary tales.

Like the cautionary tale in THE DELPHI BLOODLINE.

Review: The Delphi Bloodline by Donna Del Oro

The Delphi Bloodline by Donna Del Oro sucked me in from the very first page. There were a few points in the middle where I wondered, “Sucked me into what?”, but I couldn’t stop flicking the pages on my iPad. I absolutely had to know what happened next. The Delphi Bloodline is a little bit paranormal romance, a little bit romantic suspense, a little bit thriller, and there were a couple of moments where I thought I’d wandered into The DaVinci Code, but all of it will keep up long past your bedtime.

It all starts when Athena Butler has a dream that her mother is being kidnapped. Except that it’s not exactly a dream; it’s a vision in what Athena and her mother call “The Flow”, the stream of spirits. And Flow Dreams are prophesies –unless they are thwarted. Or misinterpreted.

Athena and her mother Annabella both have precognitive visions, and they both work with the police to help solve crimes. Or rather, Athena’s mother still does. Athena used to, but she’s been hiding out, somewhere that no one can find her. Even her mother only has a cell phone number.

Athena is tired of seeing death. Because that’s all the future holds.

But when even Athena’s warning turns out not to be enough to stop her mother’s kidnapping, Athena comes out of hiding. Or rather, her mother’s failsafe plan to protect Athena if something happened to her kicks into place.

A Guardian comes for Athena. Guardian with a capital “G”. And just in time. Someone is hunting every identified psychic. Every person who has ever assisted the police or any law enforcement agency using any type of extra-sensory powers.

And all the fakes are turning up dead.

Athena, and her mother, are descendants of a long line of women who have psychic abilities, all the way back to ancient Greece. There’s always been an Athena in her family. And there have always been Guardians willing to lay down their lives to keep women like Athena safe from people who wanted to harm them.

Keriakos Alexander Skoros (Kas to his friends) doesn’t plan to be Athena’s Guardian on anything other than a temporary basis. But her mother entrusted him with this task, and so, for that matter, did his own mother, another one of these psychics. But when it turns out that all the psychics in the U.S. are being targeted, Athena, her mother, his mother, all the others, Kas, a former cop, is on board for the duration.

But the longer he spends with Athena, the more he wants to take up the role of her protector, forever.

Athena doesn’t want anyone vowing to lay down his life for her. She’ll protect herself, thank you very much. She’s looked at the statistics, and she knows that Guardians generally die young. The longer she spends with Kas, the less she wants him to be her Guardian.

Which doesn’t mean she doesn’t want him around.

The FBI does not believe in psychic powers. But they do believe in serial killers. They don’t believe one little bit that Athena has any power whatsoever, but they can figure out that she’s one of the targets. Eventually.

They think she’s the perfect bait to trap the kidnapper.

Athena was worried that Guardians have a short life expectancy? The life expectancy of bait really sucks.

Escape Rating A-: The suspense aspects of this one are like the snowball going down the hill. Once it starts rolling, it never stops. The pace just gets faster and faster. Everyone involved becomes part of the action, which just gets more and more tense. Wow!

The romance takes its time to develop. It should be the wrong time for Kas and Athena. But they are so right for each other, if events can just slow down long enough for them to figure it out.

The big-bad villain may have been a bit over-the-top. Your mileage may vary. Believable villains seem to be difficult. The one element that really bugged me was Annabelle, Athena’s mother, and her long-standing relationship with, of all agencies, the Vatican. Would the Pope be using a psychic to predict when it was safe to travel? There’s more going on there, but it heads into spoiler country.

But if you’re looking for a fun mostly romantic suspense with a touch of psychic power, give The Delphi Bloodline a read. Be prepared not to re-surface until you’re done.


What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? AKA The Sunday Post 7-15-12

It’s going to be a very busy week here at Reading Reality. And I’m not just talking about the blog.

For those of you in the library world, I’m going to do one totally shameless plug. I’m speaking at the ALA Virtual Conference on Wednesday, July 18. My topic is one that is near and dear to my geeky little heart. Of course I’m referring to ebooks. “Beyond the Bestseller List: Filling Patron Demand for Great eBooks Without the ‘Big 6 Publishers'”.

Back to the blog. I have two tours scheduled this week.

Tuesday, Donna Del Oro will be visiting, and guest posting, to talk about her very cool paranormal romance/romantic suspense novel, The Delphi Bloodline. I’ll also have a review. A psychic female meets her match when a family friend becomes her guardian. Then the skeptical FBI wants to use her as bait in a plan that nearly turns deadly. Oh, and the Pope is involved. Lots of surprises in this one.

And on Thursday, Jeffe Kennedy stops by to answer a few questions about Rogue’s Pawn, the first book in her new urban fantasy/paranormal romance series, Covenant of Thorns. Of course, I’ll also have a review of this twisty new book, where a woman from our world crosses into fae.

Looking ahead to next week, there are a few books on the radar that I’m really looking forward to diving into.

I’ll be reviewing The Virgin Huntress, the second book in Victoria Vane’s Devil DeVere series over at Book Lovers Inc. on July 27. The first book, A Wild Night’s Bride, was an absolute hoot, a glorious romp. (BLI review here, Reading Reality here) If you want to laugh along with your sexy romance, give AWNB a read. I’m hoping The Virgin Huntress is even more delicious fun.

Series set up expectations. That true for Laura Anne Gilman’s Dragon Justice, the next book in her Paranormal Scene Investigations Series book. The publication date is July 24. Again, I enjoyed the rest of the series (Hard Magic, Pack of Lies, Tricks of the Trade (Tricks reviewed here). I loved Gilman’s Retrievers series. I’m seriously looking forward to the night I’m going to spend reading Dragon Justice. Enough said.

Last but definitely not least. I’m in the next upcoming BlogHer Book Clubs. Those bring interesting books that I might not otherwise read. The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty starts next week. That book I did want to read. Not just because the book is a hot pick on a whole lot of lists, but because the Roaring 20s are so fascinating.

The Small Blogs Big Giveaways Blog Hop will be running all this week here and and on all of the participating blogs. So don’t forget to pop on over to the entry post and get your name into the hopper for all of the prizes. There are gift cards, books and ebooks. One riffle down the rafflecopter gets you entered into all the hop stops.

That’s enough for one week (or two weeks!) on this blog. Whew! What’s happening at your place?