Guest Post: Marie Treanor on Writing Unreality + Giveaway

I’m very pleased to welcome Marie Treanor back to Reading Reality! I had the pleasure of interviewing Marie back in August for the publication of her Serafina and the Silent Vampire, and she’s back to introduce us to her Gifted series with Smoke and Mirrors. I’m loving Smoke and Mirrors so far, I’ll have a review up as soon as I finish this stage of my moving adventure.

But in the meantime, here’s Marie on why she created a new, paranormal country in the back of the old Soviet Republics. 

Writing Unreality by Marie Treanor

One of the things I like to do in my writing is to set my fantastical story full of paranormal beings and magical happenings, in actual locations that I know well or have at least visited. For me, it grounds the unreal characters and events in the real world, and can add besides a pleasantly exotic atmosphere.

However, I confess I went a little off-piste in my latest book, Smoke and Mirrors. It does open in Edinburgh, Scotland, a city I lived in for several years, and moves across the river into the “kingdom” of Fife for a spell – also well known to me. But after that, the action shifts to the totally fictional ex-Soviet republic of Zavrekestan.

I had to make Zavrekestan up, because the country itself is very much part of the story – almost a character in its own right. I had this idea about an isolated country, poor and politically unstable, and outwardly not very interesting to outsiders, where paranormal activity abounds. One village in particular produces an amazingly high proportion of psychics. Within the country, the existence of the “Gifted” is an open secret, but they’ve survived the centuries without persecution or scientific study by not talking out of turn. Thus the Gifted can quietly help with the odd problem for their ungifted brethren and still remain an official secret.

However, how feasible would it really be to keep such a secret in this age of globalization, easy travel, and social networking? To say nothing of the world’s fascination with paranormal activity. So, at the start of Smoke and Mirrors, the secret’s starting to escape. A Russian soldier stumbled upon it during Zavrekestan’s war for independence, and, now a major player in organized crime, he’s determined to profit from it. Plus, my rebel hero, Rodion Kosar, has catapulted across the world, using his fire-gift in combination with his formidable intelligence, in order to rob banks and art galleries and other impregnable institutions, putting the Gifted’s secrecy at considerable risk. Add in the Scottish born daughter of a Zavrekestan refugee, who writes fiction about her own unacknowledged gifts of foresight, and things get a little explosive. 🙂

Anyway, my vision of Zavrekestan is of a large, mostly rural country made up of spectacular mountain regions, and vast plains and forests. A beautiful, mysterious place where the people speak a language that’s almost completely unknown outside its own borders. Politically, it’s drifted from one tyranny to another, so it has a dissident under-class and a powerful secret police force. Poverty has led to crime, and certain regions around the Russian border where even the police fear to tread. So, not a very safe country either, but I hope it’s as fascinating and exciting to readers as it is to me.

I thoroughly enjoyed “inventing” Zavrekestan, and like the actual characters, it seemed to grow as I wrote. In fact, I’ve just finished writing a first draft of the second book in this series, and I found myself learning even more about the country with each chapter. As if it’s not bad enough having your own characters tell you what to write, now I have a whole country at it!

So, if you were a Gifted Zavreki – maybe you’re telepathic, talk to the dead, heal by touch, dream the future, start fires with your eyes – would you keep it a secret, or tell the world? And why?

Marie Treanor lives in Scotland with her eccentric husband and three much-too-smart children. Having grown bored with city life, she resides these days in a picturesque village by the sea where she is lucky enough to enjoy herself avoiding housework and writing sensual stories of paranormal romance and fantasy.

Marie has published more than twenty ebooks with small presses, (Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Changeling Press and The Wild Rose Press), including a former Kindle bestseller, Killing JoeBlood on Silk: an Awakened by Blood novel, was her New York debut with NAL.

Connect with Marie on Facebook.
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Join the party on her new blog: Marie Treanor’s Romantic Theme Party

Smoke and Mirrors by Marie Treanor (The Gifted #1)

Deceit and desire, and a treasure beyond price…

When struggling Scottish writer Nell Black accepts a one-off job with the police, translating for an arson suspect from the isolated ex-Soviet republic of Zavrekestan, she stumbles into a terrifying world of organized crime and paranormal abilities that turns her whole belief system upside down. Faced with an incomparable thief, hit men who spontaneously combust, gangsters, drug dealers, British Intelligence and a fiery goddess, Nell no longer knows who to trust. The man who saves her life is a criminal to whom deceit is second nature. He has more smoke screens and more plans in motion than anyone else can keep track of. He is, moreover, probably insane. Even his fellow gangsters are afraid of him. So why is he the one man Nell wants to touch her?

Rodion Kosar is in trouble. His convoluted plans all lead to one goal – the retrieval of his treasure – and to achieve that, he needs Nell to believe he isn’t the bad guy. He has many reasons beyond his own desires to make love to her. Especially when a plan goes wrong and he has to play dead before someone really kills him – either the police, the menacing Russian crime lord known as the Bear, or the powerful Guardian of the Gifted whom he’s defied once too often. Nell’s burgeoning gift of second sight could be his best route to the treasure, and yet keeping her with him spells danger. For Nell has her own agenda, her own mission, and she could just as easily cause his final downfall.

Buy at: Amazon | B&N

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The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 11-11-12

I miss my second monitor. I miss it really, really bad. It’s the big drawback to working on the blog on the road. My poor laptop just isn’t quite the machine my desktop is.

And then there’s that whole second monitor thing.

On the good news front, we found a place to live. On the first day of looking. This was SO much less drama than the move from Gainesville to Atlanta. I’m amazed. And happy. And thrilled. So we’re going home early to do more of the stuff we need to do, with a couple more days to do it in. At this point, pretty much every hour is precious.

Speaking of precious, let’s take a look at the precious, and maybe a few not-so-precious, things that happened at Reading Reality this week.

Ebook Review Central, Carina Press September 2012 Featured Titles: #1 Long Shots Books 1-3 by Christine d’Abo, #2 The Reluctant Amazon by Sandy James, #3 How to Date a Henchman by Mari Fee
B- Review: The Devil’s Thief by Samantha Kane
Interview with Samantha Kane + Giveaway
Interview with Aubrie Dionne + Giveaway
A- Review: Bared to You by Sylvia Day
B Review: Reflected in You by Sylvia Day
Autumn’s Harvest Blog Hop
On My Wishlist-Waiting on Wednesday-Desperately Wanting Wednesday-On the Weekend

Just because I’m in the middle of packing and moving, you don’t think anything is stopping at Reading Reality, do you? Of course not.

On Monday, Ebook Review Central will be taking Veteran’s Day off, and I’ll be posting something to commemorate the holiday. I will admit to it being a conveniently scheduled holiday with my trip, but sometimes you get the bear. (Sometimes, the bear gets you)

Tuesday, my guest will be Cherry Adair. Cherry will be here to answer a few questions about the latest book in her T-FLAC series, Ice Cold. I’ll admit that Ice Cold was my first introduction to this romantic suspense series but I had absolutely no problems jumping right in. And wow! What a wild ride this one is!

Wednesday, Marie Treanor will be back with a guest blog, because she’s going to be talking about her new book, Smoke and Mirrors. I’m glad to have another one of Marie’s books to review, because I enjoyed Serafina and the Silent Vampire so much. Smoke and Mirrors is in a new series, but I’m still expecting a real treat.

Thursday, I’ll be part of Jamie Salisbury’s Tudor Rubato tour. Jamie’s Tudors are rock ‘n’ roll legends, not English monarchs, which makes this series more delicious-sounding, in more ways than one. I’ll be reviewing both Tudor Rose and Tudor Rubato for the book tour.

Rounding out the week, on Friday, I’ll have one more guest! Sophie Barnes will be here to talk about her Summersby series. In addition to an interview with Sophie, I’ll also be reviewing two of the Summersby books, There’s Something About Lady Mary and The Secret Life of Lady Lucinda.

Wow! What a week this is going to be! And the fun isn’t over yet. Reading Reality will be participating in two blog hops over Thanksgiving weekend.

So don’t forget to tune in next week for another exciting adventure!


Interview with Author Marie Treanor on Isolating Your Vampires

I’d like to extend a very special welcome to my guest, Marie Treanor! Today, August 28, is the publication date of her awesome new book, Serafina and Silent Vampire (check out my review for the details of the awesomeness). Congratulations, Marie!

And without further ado, let’s hear it from Marie…

Marlene: Please tell us a little bit about yourself! What do you do when you’re not writing?

Marie: Hello! Well, I’m Scottish; I live on the east coast of Scotland with my husband of more than twenty years and my three kids, and I write mostly paranormal romance. Hmm, there isn’t actually a lot of time when I’m not writing, but in the odd moments I like to read, watch films, tv, or just spend time with my family and friends. Oh and I like to travel when I can, see new places and people.

Marlene: Most of your books deal with some aspect of the paranormal. What draws you to the eerie side of romance?

Marie: I think it’s the elements of danger which work so well with romance, together with the fact that you can just follow where your imagination takes you, without paying too much attention to what’s rationally and physically possible. The challenge is making it believable to readers!

Marlene: In Serafina and the Silent Vampire, you’ve created a universe where all the vampires are supposed to be telepathic but otherwise non-speaking. It’s a fantastic twist on the usual vampire trope, but what inspired you to make your vampires silent?

Marie: I wanted them to be cut off from humanity and just plain different to humanity and this helped to isolate them, and yet provide them with a means of communication among themselves that wasn’t open to humans – or at least to most humans! And then I found it was so much fun to see how Blair got around the challenges of getting by in the human world, and I did enjoy the comic value of the scenes where he talked telepathically to Sera and she answered aloud in front of her companions.

Marlene: We’ve all heard the joke that sharks don’t bite lawyers out of professional courtesy, but what gave you the brilliant idea for blood-sucking bankers who really sucked blood?

Marie: 🙂 It just struck me that controlling the money would be best way to control the world in this day and age. And then, of course, bankers were coming in for a bit of a bad press round about the time I was thinking about and writing this story, so I ran with it.

Marlene: What’s your favorite scene from the book?

Marie: Oh dear, I don’t know! I had so much fun writing the whole thing that it’s hard to narrow down. I do like the opening scene where Sera’s so pissed off at Blair for supposedly muscling in on her scam; and I liked the scene where she met Phil for the first time. And just after the first sex scene, although I don’t really want to spoil the story by saying why 🙂

Marlene: Who first introduced you to the love of reading?

Marie: My parents. There were always loads of books in our house, and my parents were always reading.  At first it was self defence to read a book of my own, but I quickly became even more engrossed than they were. 🙂

Marlene: Who influenced your decision to become a writer?

Marie: I think that was largely just me, although I have to allow a friend of my husband’s some credit! I always wrote stories, ever since early childhood, and had a vague idea that one day I would become a professional writer. Of course real life, study and steady jobs got in the way for a while. And then one day while I was complaining (again) about a job I hated, my husband’s friend said dismissively, “Pig it out and write your novel in holidays and quiet periods.” Which, when he didn’t even know that I wrote at all, was pretty stunning advice! It made me sit up, and I began to follow it in a much more focused sort of way.

Marlene: What book do you recommend everyone should read and why?

Marie: Just one book? Yikes. Maybe Catch-22 by Joseph Heller? It’s so deep and thought-provoking and yet you can just read it and love it for the laughs alone 🙂

Marlene: Would you like to tell us a little bit about your upcoming projects? There are going to be more stories about Seraphina’s, aren’t there?  (The ending certainly left me wanting more…)

Marie: Well that’s good to hear – thank you! Yes, I’m planning at least two more books set in Serafina’s, the first of which I’m writing just now. Then I have the start of another new series, The Gifted, beginning in November with Smoke and Mirrors, all about a mysterious criminal with the dubious gift of fire-starting. And my other on-going series is Blood Hunters, a sequel series to the Awakened by Blood vampire romance trilogy. The first of those, Blood Guilt, came out earlier in the summer, and the second, Blood of Angels, should be released in January 2013.

Marlene: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?

Marie: Hmmm….

  1. Well, you can escape through my books to intense worlds of fantasy,  roller coasters of emotion and steamy romance!
  2. I like to think my characters are a little bit different, and they might make you laugh sometimes because I do like them to have a sense of humour, however black.
  3. And, er, I need the money 🙂

Marlene: Morning person or night owl?

Marie: These days, providing I have coffee on tap, I’m a morning person. I used to be much more of a night owl but having kids seemed to change that. Now my teenage sons are the night owls and I’m tucked up in bed before eleven if I can get away with it!

Serafina and the Silent Vampire by Marie Treanor
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Serafina’s #1
Formats Available:
Purchasing Info: Goodreads | Author’s Website | Amazon
Book Blurb:

Silence has never been so sinful…

Welcome to Edinburgh’s unique psychic investigation agency, Serafina’s.

Serafina MacBride is psychic – but not strictly honest. While staging a hilarious vampire attack at a client’s party, Sera is stunned to encounter a real vampire – annoying, gorgeous and inaudible to everyone but her. When her client’s son is found dead with puncture wounds in his neck, she tracks the silent vampire to his lair.

But the amoral and seductive Blair is also on a mission – to find and kill a nest of young vampires who’ve invaded his territory. Soon Sera is drawn into the bizarre world of the undead, where danger lurks in the shadows along with forbidden sensual delights – and a murderous conspiracy to flood the world with financially astute vampires who talk.

Supported and hindered by Blair’s eccentric, undead friends, and by her own motley crew from Serafina’s, Sera and Blair uncover surprising truths about each other and about the mysterious Founder from whom all vampires are descended.

In the end, Sera draws on powers she never knew she had in a frantic fight to defeat the forces of evil and preserve the strange, complicated being she’s trying so hard not to love.

About the Author:

Marie Treanor lives in Scotland with her eccentric husband and three much-too-smart children. Having grown bored with city life, she resides these days in a picturesque village by the sea where she is lucky enough to enjoy herself avoiding housework and writing sensual stories of paranormal romance and fantasy.

Marie Treanor has published more than twenty ebooks with small presses, (Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Changeling Press and The Wild Rose Press), including a former Kindle bestseller, Killing JoeBlood on Silk: an Awakened by Blood novel, was her New York debut with NAL.

Blog: Marie Treanor’s Romantic Theme Party:


Review: Serafina and the Silent Vampire by Marie Treanor

A psychic who doesn’t believe in vampires! How delightfully unexpected. You would think that one person firmly resident on the eerie side of the fence would automatically give at least some credence to the possibility that there might be some truth to rumors about the other denizens of the night.

But not Serafina. And that’s just a part of what makes Marie Treanor’s Serafina and the Silent Vampire so delicious.

Serafina MacBride absolutely does speak with the dead, among other “tricks”. But her own spooky powers are the only ones she has any faith in. So she uses them. Sometimes for good, and sometimes for things decidedly not so good.

She knows her current client, Ferdy Bell, is hiding something from her. He says there’s a vampire stalking him. Sera believes in ghosts, because they’re a natural part of being. We live, we die, our spirit passes on. But vampires are unnatural, so they must be fake. Therefore, Ferdy must be having her on.

However, Ferdy is a wealthy banker. His money is no lie. And he wants protection. Serafina’s, the psychic investigations agency that Sera owns, is perfectly happy to provide it. And while Ferdy is hosting a big house party for all of his rich friends, Sera and her friends have a plan to scare him with a fake vampire attack, all in good fun.

Too bad for Sera that their fake attack is crashed by two very real vampires. One kills Ferdy’s son, Jason, and gets clean away. The other very nearly seduces Serafina just when the murder is taking place.

Serafina still doesn’t believe that the man she met in her client’s garden–the one she saw biting her friend’s neck!–is a vampire. Even though he only speaks to her in her head, and not with his vocal chords. She’s the only one who can hear him.

She doesn’t believe until she sees Blair in action. beating up the “bad” vampires, the ones who killed, and turned, Jason Bell.

Blair and Serafina are surprised to discover that they have a common cause–eradicating the nest of vampires that is taking over the heart of Edinburgh’s banking industry. Serafina wants them removed because their insidious plan is to control Edinburgh, and eventually a much larger territory, by pulling the strings on a vast financial empire. They’re turning humans in key financial positions into vampires.

Blair wants these new vampires out of his territory. Edinburgh is his domain, and, reminiscent of Highlander, there can only be one — at least without an invitation. Too many vampires in one place risks exposure.

But Blair is working with Serafina for another reason, a much more personal one. The greatest enemy of the immortal is boredom. Until Serafina careened into his unlife, Blair had felt nothing for a very long time. With Serafina around, he’s been angry, frustrated, horny, satisfied, curious, excited, fascinated, impatient, eager and every other emotion he hasn’t felt for centuries. But he’s never, ever been bored.

Now that he’s found a reason to live, there’s someone out to kill him.

Escape Rating A: I didn’t want this one to end. The case had to be over, but it’s wide open for the next book in the Serafina’s series, and I want to find out what happens next to these people. Not just where things go between Serafina and Blair, but also Serafina’s whole crew.

Serafina and Blair’s love story isn’t just steamy (although it certainly is that!) but you feel the push/pull of Seraphina very properly worrying whether this is a good idea and what possible future they might have, and whether a fantastic time right now is worth the inevitable heartbreak.

And there’s Sera’s posse, who are also terrific. I hope that future stories will see them getting their own happy-ever-afters.

Oh yeah. Making the vampires silent was a stroke of genius. Very, very cool!

The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? 8-26-12

It’s the unofficial last gasp of summer, because next Monday is Labor Day. School is already in session so many places.

In Atlanta, next weekend in Dragon*Con. In Chicago, next weekend is Worldcon. Science fiction has not moved nearly fast enough. I really need either a TARDIS, or a transporter.

And if that weren’t enough, the Decatur Book Festival is going on at the exact same time. A street festival full of books! Right here in the Atlanta burbs. It was pretty darn awesome last year. We might nip out of Dragon*Con for a bit…maybe…it’s possible.

But there’s a whole week, a whole week, between now and that wonderful, marvelous 3-day Labor Day weekend. What’s coming up on the bookish front at Reading Reality?

Monday, Ebook Review Central, of course. Carina Press is up this week, and they had some fantastic titles in this batch. One book, one single book, attracted (ahem) over 40 reviews. Maybe it’s one you’ll want to read? Check in and see!

On Tuesday Marie Treanor will be stopping by to talk about her latest book, Serafina and the Silent Vampire. This is a terrific start to her new urban fantasy series, Serafina’s, about the psychic and occasional con artist, Serafina, who runs into just a bit more than she bargained for in the vampire Blair.

Thursday I’ll be interviewing Susan Wiggs about the latest book in her Lakeshore Chronicles series, Return to Willow Lake. I’ll also be reviewing this new contemporary romance, which is due out this week.

And last but not least, as we’re all waiting for the weekend…on Saturday, September 1…Reading Reality will be part of the Romance at Random Labor Day Blog Hop!

Looking ahead to after Labor Day (when it will unofficially be Fall but will still be hot in Atlanta)…I have a book I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while on my calendar.

If you’re pining for the next season of Sherlock, and you want to try a different version of Holmes, might I suggest Laurie R. King? Her interpretation starts with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. The latest book in her Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell series, Garment of Shadows, will be published on September 4. I’ve had a review copy for a while, but I’ve been caught in the “so many books, so little time conundrum”.

I’ll make time.

What are you up to this week? And do you have any special bookish plans for the long Labor Day weekend?