Thursday, April 11, 2013

Blog Tour: About Face by Amy Lee Burgess (giveaway too)

This virtual book tour is presented by Buy The Book Tours.
Click HERE for more tour information.
Welcome to The Wormhole and my day on the tour.
It is my pleasure to feature Amy Lee Burgess and About Face.
Amy has joined us for an interview:
 When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

You mean get published? I’ve been writing off and on since I was ten, but I’ve only really gotten serious about it in the past couple of years. That’s when I first submitted a novel for publication to Lyrical and was offered a contract. I don’t mean to imply that only published authors are writers though. Far from it! It’s just for me the focus to write for a purpose other than just to get the images out of my head onto the screen came together when I realized I could improve and expand and venture out of my writing cave into a bigger, scarier world. But I’m glad I did it.

 How many jobs did you have before you became a writer?
Well, I still have a day job! I’m an admin assistant for one of the bigger oil companies. Prior to that I worked at a utility company and before that for a non-profit organization that awarded grants to the community for education, government and health. And before that I worked at a court reporting agency as both a notereader and project manager for an ongoing environmental law case. But my dream job would definitely be writing full-time. Preferably from a garret in Paris or Dublin.

 How long does it take you to write a book?
That really depends, but I’m pretty quick. Back in the day when I had one book going at a time I would finish it anywhere between eleven days and two months. Lately I’ve had to juggle writing two books, editing another and promoting and touring my latest book, About Face. Which is why I’m here today actually. So now it can take me as long as four months to finish a novel and that makes me sad. But in a way it’s a measure of success because I no longer have the time to focus on just writing. Now I have to edit and promote too. So maybe I am happy after all it takes me so long nowadays.

 What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I have so many. For one when I’m in an elevator alone at work I practice dialog for upcoming scenes. I’ve been caught more than once too.

 Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for your characters?
Dreams sometimes. Stuart Townsend, the actor, has definitely inspired several of my heroes. He’s the inspiration for Liam Murphy in the Wolf Within series. Other novels that I adore. News articles. Songs. Where *don’t* I get ideas and inspiration would be an easier question to answer I think. Certainly shorter!

 How do you decide what you want to write about?
For the Wolf Within series I decided to enter NaNoWriMo one year and all I had in mind on November 1st when I sat in front of my blank computer screen was that I would write about a wolf shifter named Stanzie. All the rest just happened organically over the next eleven days which is how long it took me to write Beneath the Skin. That’s my personal best, by the way. I’ve never beaten that time and I’m not sure I want to. I did nothing but write every spare second. I had the flu too and so much of it was written in a literal feverish haze.

 What books have most influenced your life?
Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice is one. The Little House on the Prairie novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Every single Agatha Christie novel ever written. That woman was a genius.

 What are you reading right now?
I’ve got a couple novels going. One is Murder is Easy by Agatha Christie (for about the 20th time), another is The Persian Boy by Mary Renault and I’m also reading The Quest by fellow Lyrical author, Mary Abshire.

 What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Play Sims 3. Love that game. I also enjoy walking my two dachshunds, Nixie and Callie. And I am currently obsessed with The Walking Dead. Oh, and travel. I like to take long weekends and go to places like Las Vegas and Colorado. This summer I’m going to visit a wolf sanctuary and meet real wolves. I can’t wait.

 What is your favorite comfort food?
Wheat pasta and meat sauce. Lots of grated cheese.

 What do you think makes a good story?
I like mystery. Questions that need to be asked and solved. Add a dash of paranormal and I’m really intrigued. If there’s a handsome man in the mix, I’m in for the long haul.

 Who would you consider your favorite author and why?
At the moment my favorite author is Ilona Andrews (and it’s a husband/wife team so I guess it’s a “they”, right?) because I love Kate Daniels so much. Her romance with her shifter lion king hits all the right notes and she’s a fascinating fighter. I can’t write heroines who kick ass literally because I don’t have the fighting knowledge. So my women all kick ass with their minds usually. But Kate can fight and the fight scenes in these books are my favorite parts of the novels and that just never happens for me. Normally, I skip the fight scenes but in the Kate books I reread them. So I think that’s one reason why I love her so much right now. She takes all the things I don’t like about urban fantasy and makes those parts what I like best. That’s talent!

Fun random questions:
• dogs or cats? I have two dogs who would bite me if I said cats, but I have six cats waiting for me for on the Rainbow Bridge who would hiss hysterically if I said dogs. So I will say…both.

• Coffee or tea? Tea for sure. I drink coffee maybe once a month, but tea is every day!

• Dark or milk chocolate? Dark. Especially when eaten in a bubble bath with red wine or champagne.

• Rocks or flowers? Flowers. Although I had a pet rock once. His name was Henry and I loved him.

• Night or day? Night, night, night, night. But I hate driving in the dark so I have to get where I’m going by day and then spend the night wherever it is. Or someone else can drive. I’m down with that too.

• Favorite color? Green. Or purple. Not sure I can pick a favorite.

• Crayons or markers? I’m the world’s worst artist. I still can’t color within the lines, but I do better with crayons for sure.

• Pens or pencils? Give me a keyboard. I can’t read my own writing. But I hate pencils. They break too easily. So I guess I will have to say pens by default.

More About the Author:
Amy Lee Burgess is a transplanted New Englander living in Houston, Texas with two dogs and lots of DVDs. In an attempt to bond with the city after being forced out of New Orleans post-Katrina, she turned to her writing. Determined to finally finish that novel she'd been hacking away at since high school, Amy managed to come up with a wolf shifter character named Stanzie Newcastle. She and Stanzie have been BFFs ever since.

In addition to Stanzie, Amy has also forged a relationship with several vampires, a witch or two, and other assorted supernatural creatures she hopes will entertain her readers. But she will always have room for coffee and butterscotch squares with Stanzie.

About Face by Amy Lee Burgess:
Stanzie’s job as Advisor to the Great Council is discovering other people’s secrets. When those secrets are being kept by the ones she loves most, can she find the courage to expose them?

Under orders from a Councilor, Stanzie journeys to Dublin and the MacTire pack. Her mission: warn her estranged bond mate, Liam Murphy, to abandon his overzealous search for the man responsible for the death of his first bond mate. Not only is he endangering himself, but also disrupting the delicate balance between opposing factions in the conspiracy threatening to tear the Great Pack apart.

Liam needs Stanzie’s help to protect their Alpha, who has entangled himself in the conspiracy’s deadly web. But he also desperately wants her back. In a race against time, Stanzie and Liam discover enemies often wear the faces of friends.

CONTENT WARNING: Vulgar language, sexual situations, some violence
Our fingers were still linked when I opened my eyes hours later. The bedroom smelled of sex--of us--and while he wasn't snoring, Murphy’s breath was slow and heavy, the way I remembered from the nights we’d spent together in America.
For a moment I was filled with such aching happiness I almost expected to levitate off the bed. But then I remembered everything, and black despair bit into me so hard I wondered I didn't bleed.

He’d rolled off me at some point, but we were still on top of the covers. I let go of his hand and slid off the bed. I found his t-shirt and my panties, put them on and fled to the living room.

The remains of our dinner had congealed on our plates on the table. The lights were still on, and I got as far as the sofas before my legs went out from beneath me and I couldn't breathe.

Murphy appeared like a ghost in the bedroom doorway. His eyes were very dark.

“Can we talk about it, Stanzie?”

“What’s to talk about?” I drew one of the throw pillows defensively close to my stomach.

I loved him but he didn't love me. I’d tried so hard not to let that overwhelm me and make peace with it. Of all the people in his life he protected, I was the last on the list and that’s not where I wanted to be. “You chose Paddy and Mac Tire over me, and I guess I get that, but it hurts.”

“I had no idea you loved me.” His tone was raw and desperate. “I thought I was doing the right thing. You didn't need to be put at risk in this, and I thought I could--”

“What? Don’t lie to me, Liam. You didn't want me involved because you’re going to do something stupid to save Paddy and your father. Why should you martyr yourself for them?”

“Paddy came to me for help,” Murphy shouted and the muscles in his face strained as he struggled to regain control. “He had nowhere else to turn, don’t you see? It’s not like I could tell him to go screw himself. He’s my best mate.”

“But it’s okay to tell me to go screw myself, I guess. I’m your bond mate. You wouldn't come to my tribunal. You threw me out like so much garbage when Paddy told you his problems. And you couldn't even tell me why. You’re so hell-bent on saving everybody, but it’s always on your terms and you have to be the one to give help--you never want it in return. I would have helped you. I would have done anything for Paddy--he’s my Alpha--but you decided what was best for me in your typical high-handed Liam Murphy fashion, and to hell with what I thought, what I wanted.

“And then tonight you take advantage of the fact I love you so you can, what? Have sex?

Haven’t you screwed anyone in four months, or have you just screwed people over?”

His face blanched of all color, and he stared at me, his dark eyes bottomless.

“That wasn't just sex. Did that feel like just sex to you?”

“No, not to me. I love you. But that’s what it was to you. Will you please leave me alone? I’m tired and I want to go to sleep.”

“Stanzie, I know you’re tired, but we've got to talk about this.”

“In the morning. Maybe.” I turned away from him because I couldn't stand to look at the entreaty in his eyes. In a heartbeat I’d be across the floor to him, and screw that.

He abruptly gave in. “Look, you take the bed, I’ll sleep out here.”

“No, I’ll stay out here.” I was ten seconds from tears, and I wanted him gone so he wouldn't see.

“Stanzie, take the bed.”

“No,” I shouted, and the damn tears poured down my cheeks. “It smells like us in there, don’t you get it? And us is a lie. Just let me do what I want, goddamn it.”

He opened his mouth to argue, but then, defeated, retreated and did as I asked.

My Thoughts:
I would suggest reading the first four books in this series before reading this one, but it did stand alone.  I have not read the rest and I didn't feel like I was missing too much information, but I could tell that there was a lot that had gone on before and it would have been more meaningful to know more.

The story line is tricky and I couldn't decide who I would trust if I had been in Stanzie's spot either.  I liked the characters personalities for the most part, but there were times when I thought Stanzie was a little too wishy washy, but that could be because I didn't start at the beginning of the series.  Paddy, Liam, Fee and Stanzie were my favorite characters.  

The story speaks a lot about loyalty and love, betrayal and sacrifice, as well as duty.  The emotions run rampant throughout the book and I found myself snickering at times and in tears at other times.  I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Giveaway:  Clcik HERE to go to the giveaway.

 Buy Links: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes