Monthly Archives: October 2013

The world of “Billy’s Bones” – a tour through Tom’s house

BillysBones_FessendenAs some of you may already know, I based a number of elements in my psychological mystery novel Billy’s Bones upon my real life.  There is no specific person in my life who inspired Kevin, though I know many people who are a bit like him in one way or another, including a friend who works as a handyman.  Alas, I am disturbingly like Tom.  I don’t look like him, but I often think like him (well, a combination of him and Jeremy from my novel Murderous Requiem).

The setting though—particularly Tom’s house—was based very much on my real house.  One of my friends told me she had trouble reading the novel, because she knew the setting too well and she prefers to let her imagination create it.  So if you have vivid images in your mind about the setting of Billy’s Bones, you might want to skip these pictures.  But for those of you who are curious….

The house sits at the end of a long driveway, far enough out in the country that we have no streetlights, though still close enough to the highway that we can get to the hospital if we need to. It resembles the Escape Room in Minneapolis because of its size and maze-like layout. Unfortunately, my husband didn’t feel comfortable posting a picture of the outside of the house, since it would be easy to drive around our small town with a photo and figure out where we live.  This post is basically going out to the entire Internet, after all.  But I can post some pics of the inside and pertinent areas.

007We do have a flock of about 20 wild turkeys that wander through the yard almost daily and they can get in the way when we drive in and try to park.  They aren’t afraid of us.  They just casually saunter out of the path of the car and glare at us for disturbing them.  Deer show up occasionally, too, but not as much since we got the dog.

IMG_0382I won’t show you every room in the house, but here are a couple, as they looked when we moved in and as Tom saw them.  The first is the stove room.  You can see the spiral staircase leading down into the basement.  Like Shadow, our dog was too afraid to go down those stairs, so we didn’t have to block it off when he decided it was fun to run down into the basement.  We did have to put up a child gate in front of the other basement stairs until he outgrew that phase.
IMG_0383

And here’s the living room, where Tom and Kevin had to sit on the floor to use the laptop.
IMG_0391Probably the biggest difference between the novel and reality, is that I extended the back deck quite a bit in the novel, so it would be large enough to hold the hot tub. Unlike Tom, we do have neighbors, but in some directions the forest extends all the way to state park land, and you could easily get lost in it.  I know—I once spent a half hour wandering around in it, chasing after our dog, when he broke free of his harness.  Fortunately, we both found our way back home.
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The real hot tub is off a side deck. When we turned the thing on and discovered it was dead (the original is in this picture), we couldn’t find anyone willing to repair it.  It was as badly cobbled together as I described in the novel, and not particularly safe.  So eventually  we replaced it.

2013-10-25_13-15-55_848And this appropriately creepy picture (taken with my cellphone, since a certain pooch ate our digital camera), is The Well, as seen through the trees in back of the house.  No, not the one at the end of the novel, but the cement one behind Tom’s house, where Kevin damaged his hand.

008Last but not least, this is Kumar the Mighty Duck Hunter, the inspiration for Shadow.  He’s still just a few years old and full of energy.  He doesn’t normally have demonic glowing eyes.  He did have a terror of stairs when we first got him, and yes we had to carry all 75 pounds of him up and down for a while, but he’s over that now.

He does still prefer to communicate with people through his stuffed ducks.

Honk!  Honk!

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Filed under Drama, gay, Mystery, Pets, Psychological Drama, Romance, World Building, Writing

Saving Sonny James Road Trip Blog Tour: Why New Hampshire? Because I’m the author, that’s why!

Hello, I’m Lou Sylvre. Let me begin with a heartfelt thank you to Jamie Fessenden for sharing some blog space with me and my characters, Luki Vasquez and Sonny James. They just finished a rather terrible misadventure in France, which you can read about in my latest Vasquez and James series book (#4), Saving Sonny James, released by Dreamspinner Press on 10/18. The couple are on a road trip—a trans-Atlantic, other-world-visiting road trip, which I agreed to only because they consented to take me along, letting me observe and chronicle their travels from the backseat.

They started in Paris, because that’s where Saving Sonny James left them, took the Chunnel train to Ashford, in Kent, England, and another train to London. They had rather a nice time in London. Before an evening of amiable ravishment (yeah, sex) at their historic hotel, they dined with Brian Harrison, young friend and former agent of Luki’s security business, whose stint there included a tough job helping to rescue  Luki’s nephew in book 3, Finding Jackie. Brian is also the future love interest of the very same Jackie in at least one romance novel, but that’s yet to be—it’s incubating in my (Lou Sylvre’s) head while Jackie faces demons and comes of age.

Meanwhile, Luki and Sonny have just about had their fill of misadventure for a while, and they’re on vacation. Yesterday they checked in at the gate for their flight from Heathrow. Luki, of course, took charge as they stepped up to the desk.

“Luki Vasquez and Sonny James, with Vasquez Security, Chicago.”

Sonny mumbled under his breath but near enough Luki’s ear for his husband to hear and begin to be annoyed. “And employee of ATF, long arm of Uncle Sam.”

“Destination, sir?”

Sonny started to speak up… “New Y—”

But Luki interrupted, rather forcefully. “Providence.”

“Providence?” Sonny asked, looking perplexed and perhaps as though challenging Luki’s sanity.

“Yeah, baby. Providence. That’s the flight Jude booked for us.”

“Why?”

Luki sighed and rolled his eyes, turned to the desk agent, “Excuse me, maybe… ten seconds.”

“It’s first class,” he said to Sonny, exaggerating a patient tone.

“What happened to seeing the art museum, and Broadway, and—”

“Another time.”

“You didn’t even ask me.”

“Jude and I wanted to surprise you, but I guess I’ll have to ruin that, now. We’re picking up your Mustang in Providence!”

“How!”

“You know Jude,” Luki said, then in an aside to the desk agent, “She’s my admin, she can do anything.”

“So, Providence, then.” The airline employee and Sonny spoke almost in unison.

Luki nodded to the clerk and answered Sonny. “Yes. And from there we’re driving to New Hampshire.”

“New Hampshire… because?”

“I hear it’s beautiful there this time of year.” Luki stopped to show the young woman their passports and ID, and thanked her as he stepped away from the desk, their boarding passes in hand.  “And Ms. Sylvre wants us to pick her up there.”

“Why do we always do everything she tells us?”

Luki sighed again, heading into the men’s room. “We don’t, but sometimes we have to let her have her way.”

“I’ll ask again, why?”

“Sonny, she’s the author. That’s why. And I guess she has a friend there.”

“At least she’s nice,” Sonny said, looking thoughtful.

Luki made a wry face—more expressive than Sonny was used to. “Sometimes,” Luki said.

The flight to Providence was long, relatively  amiable, and uneventful. Smooth figurative seas continued as they got to the garage to pick up the ‘Stang and drove out of town. Sonny smiled as he negotiated the relatively uncluttered turnpike. Luki put on “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and sang along in his sexy scratch, “…to keep me from getting to you, baby.” He was glancing through a paper from Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

“Hey look, baby!,” he said. “There’s a place in this town called Sonny’s tavern.”

“Whoopie.”

“Whoopie?”

“That’s what I said. What kind of place is it?”

“Well, let’s see. Hm. Says they’re having a honky-tonk jam tonight.”

“Perhaps we should steer clear. How about an art event?”

“Um… yeah. Here. It’s in Hampton… maybe that’s not far. An art walk with—no, never mind that already happened. But there’s something at the University… somebody made paintings based on somebody else’s poems. The artist is John Angelopolous, the poet somebody Simic. Art looks sort of surreal… Oh, wait, that was October 11th. Hm.”

NH autumn

“So,” Sonny offered. Maybe we should take a long drive in the woods. This part of the country reminds me of home.”

“Our home,” Luki said, very quietly.

Sonny took his eyes off the road while they waited for a traffic signal in the middle of nowhere to turn green. “Yes, husband. Our home. Always.” He offered his hand, and Luki entwined his own.

As they pulled away from the light, Sonny taking Luki’s hand along for the ride as he shifted gears, Luki cleared his throat. Still softly, he said, “I love you, Sonny Bly James.”

Sonny squeezed Luki’s hand and, being Sonny, said, “Yeah, you do, don’t you?”

SavingSonnyJames400x600 final

Luki Vasquez and his still newlywed husband are back home after pulling off a harrowing desert rescue of their teenage nephew Jackie. But the events of the last couple of years have begun to catch up with Luki—loving Sonny James and letting Sonny love him back has left gaps in his emotional armor. In the gunfight that secured Jackie’s rescue, Luki’s bullet killed a young guard, an innocent boy in Luki’s mind. In the grip of PTSD, memories, flashbacks, and nightmares consume him, and he falls into deep, almost vegetative depression.

Sonny devotes his days to helping Luki, putting his own career on hold, even passing up a European tour of galleries and schools—an opportunity that might never come again. But when Luki’s parasomnia turns his nightmares into real-world terror, it breaks the gridlock. Sonny realizes what he’s doing isn’t working, and he says yes to Europe. Enter Harold Breslin, a dangerously intelligent artist’s promoter and embezzler whose obsessive desire for Sonny is exceeded only by his narcissism. When Harold’s plan for Sonny turns poisonous, Luki must break free of PTSD and get to France fit and ready in time to save his husband’s life.

Buy Link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4269

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Filed under Drama, gay, Guest Blogger, New Release, Romance

Finalists in the Rainbow Awards!

FinalistSMBoth Billy’s Bones and By That Sin Fell the Angels are finalists in the Rainbow Awards this year!  My YA fantasy novel, Dreams, also made the cut!

Unfortunately, we won’t find out who won until December, and the competition is steep.  Click on the image to see the other finalists!  I’m honored to be included among them.

In other news, I’ve signed a contract with Dreamspinner Press for my college romance Screw-Ups!

I’ve also submitted a steampunk novella called The Watchwork Man for an anthology, finished round two of edits on my Christmas story (The Healing Power of Eggnog) for the Dreamspinner 2013 Advent Calendar, and I have part three of the Dreams of Fire and Gods YA trilogy (Gods) coming out on October 17th!

It’s been a busy two weeks.

The Dogs of Cyberwar

The Dogs of Cyberwar

I now find myself without a deadline for the first time since the summer began.  So I’ll need to set some new ones.  I’ve been re-reading what I’ve written for A Mote in the Eye — part two of the B.A.L.O.R. Cycle, my cyberpunk trilogy which began with The Dogs of Cyberwar.  I’ve been promising to finish that forever, but other deadlines kept interfering.  I’m liking what I’m reading, so I’m setting myself a deadline of October 31st to have at least A Mote in the Eye finished and the third section started.  The story is, in my humble opinion, just too good to let it languish unread forever.

I’m also hoping to participate in NaNoWriMo this year.  I have a murder mystery in my head that takes place on Mount Washington.

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Filed under Christmas, Cyberpunk, Drama, Fantasy, gay, Historical, Mystery, NaNoWriMo, Romance, SciFi, Victorian, Writing, Young Adult