Interview With JL Peridot

My guest today is JL Peridot, author of the stylish and thought-provoking thriller Chasing Sisyphus.

Welcome to the Naughty Corner, JL. Tell us a little about Chasing Sisyphus?

It’s a romantic suspense story about a bounty hunter and a police detective who cross paths while pursuing the same target: a hacker named Sisyphus.

Here’s the problem — Adria needs the payoff to take care of her sick brother, but Rhys has a file on her down at the station. Bounty hunting’s illegal in Basilica City and even his growing attraction to her can’t win out against his sense of duty as a cop.

Eventually, they realise they’re in over their heads. This hacker kid isn’t just a threat to some fat cats’ bank accounts — something bigger is brewing behind the scenes.

What kind of research went into writing the story?

I’m sure my Google search history could implicate me in a crime… I read up on weaponry, psychology, human anatomy and biomechanics. I learned a lot about how misleading TV can be, how simple (while not terribly easy) it is to kill a person, and how the human body responds in violent situations. I study martial arts as a hobby and my partner’s an instructor, which meant we could test out the fight scenes to make sure they were plausible.

The heroine of Chasing Sisyphus is a bounty hunter. If you were a bounty hunter, who would you most like to track down?

The idea of killing someone for money makes me squeamish, so I’d lean towards tracking down missing persons to reunite them with their loved ones. Even if that person turns out to be dead, at least their family can get some closure.

You write in a variety of genres, but what attracts you to science fiction in particular?

For me, sci-fi is an opportunity to consider two big questions:

  • How can the impossible become possible?, and
  • Why would that be meaningful to us?

Even if these concepts are only in the background of a story, like they are in this novel, I feel it makes for a fascinating universe. From dumb sci-fi (like The Core) to philosophical sci-fi (like Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke), you’re entertaining crazy ideas that push the boundaries of normality. I just love it.

Is there any genre you actively avoid writing, or that doesn’t interest you as a reader?

If you’d asked me a year ago, I would have said romance. That was when all I knew about the genre came from people complaining the stories were dumb, cheesy, all the same… Of course, you can get that in any genre, because everyone has different tastes and opinions are so subjective! Once I realised romance is what you make it, I was way more open-minded.

I think I’d give most genres a fair go, except maybe certain flavours of BDSM erotica, dubcon and scat.

What are you reading at the moment?

I hope I’m not the only reader juggling several books at once. I’m currently reading Dirty-Good by Evie Bliss, Star Brides: Procured by Pia Manning, One Hit by Jillian Hoff, The Writer’s Guide to Weapons by Benjamin Sobieck, Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan (re-reading!), and working through The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey and the Luna series by Ian McDonald.

What is your next writing project?

A love story set in space. Yeah, sci-Fi again, but less suspense this time — it’s an office romance on a space station.

What is the one thing about you that would surprise people reading this interview?

One of my goals is to be able to write short stories in a language other than English.

Chasing Sisyphus excerpt

Adria hadn’t counted on the tripwire. This kid knew someone would follow him home one day. He’d strung a line of empty soup cans across the apartment hallway. When she kicked that out, a hefty serving of iced water came down squarely on her head. Gooseflesh prickled her neck and shoulders. The muscles in her jaw seized in the cold. Against the shock, she scrambled to her feet, fired up to catch the stomping and crashing in the other room before it got away.

A figure ran past the doorway.

“Stop!” she yelled.

It rounded the corner. Adria gave chase.

She scanned the room. It was dim at best, thanks to the streetlights from outside, but she saw enough. Computer equipment and various peripherals lay strewn across the floor, some still plugged into a transportable battery in the corner, emitting tiny lights and numbers.

A window slammed shut. The glass shattered. Shards crunched and ground beneath Adria’s boots as she hurried in pursuit of her fleeing target.

When she stepped out onto the fire escape, two hands rammed her into the ladder. The whole balcony shuddered from the collision. Pain flared down her shoulder, but she kept her grip on the gun. She held it up with her good arm and fired.

Two shots.

Missed.

She stumbled backward, clutching her burning shoulder, but the railing crumbled under her weight. Adria grabbed what was left of it with both hands as her footing slipped away.

It looked like a four-storey drop. Maybe five if she’d miscounted. Her legs dangled over thin air while from below came the clatter of broken pieces of railing, along with her gun, as they hit the concrete.

Overhead, her target stomped away on the rungs and disappeared onto the roof.

Adria’s shoulder raged. She tried to pull herself up, but couldn’t take the weight with just one good arm. Her feet kicked out, searching for a foothold, but the grill beneath had long withered away to slivers of rust and sharp edges.

Water and sweat dripped into her eyes. She swiped them helplessly on her sleeves and winced as rough seams grazed the skin. The railing creaked in her clammy grip. She could always let go. If she timed her landing right, maybe she’d get away with a broken ankle and a tetanus shot. Surely it only looked like a long way down.

Then she heard a gunshot from inside the apartment.

Blurb:

Bounty hunter Adria Yuan is hot on the trail of her final hit: a notorious hacker wanted by the city’s elite. With the reward, she can pay for her brother’s surgery and finally get out of Basilica City. Trouble is, her line of work’s not exactly legal, and she’s barely staying ahead of the cops who want her target, too.

Detective Rhys Carver may be a little unorthodox, but he’s a good cop. Born and bred in Basilica, he does his part to keep his city clean. As clean as it gets, at least. And with Adria suddenly in his sights, it’s going to take more than falling in love for him to let her go.

As the pair close in on their mark, they are unwittingly drawn into a high profile conspiracy that could thrust the whole of Basilica into chaos. Can Adria and Rhys set aside their differences, and their desires, to save the only home they know?

Amazon: http://mybook.to/chasingsisyphus

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/chasing-sisyphus

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chasing-sisyphus-the-basilica-conspiracy-jl-peridot/1127259716

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/chasing-sisyphus-the-basilica-conspiracy/id1298768446?mt=11

Bookstrand: http://bookstrand.com/book/chasing-sisyphus

JL Peridot likes stories with a little danger and only realised in her thirties that falling in love is one of the most dangerous things we do. She favours savoury over sweet, spaces over tabs, and a hearty pub meal over fine dining any day. From her home in sunny Australia, she writes erotic romance, and sometimes just erotica.

Blog: http://jlperidot.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/jlperidot

Instagram: http://instagram.com/jlperidot

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jlperidot

GIVEAWAY!

Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here: http://writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/jl-peridot/

To enter the giveaway, click here.

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It’s Advent Calendar Time!

Yes, December has rolled around again already, and that means it’s time for Dreamspinner’s annual Advent Calendar release. This year’s collection is titled Stocking Stuffers, and you have the choice of subscribing to the whole calendar, which means a story delivered to you every day between now and Christmas, or you can buy the stories individually. The best part of getting the whole set is that you don’t know the order in which you’ll receive them, so every morning there’s a saucy surprise in your inbox. You can find out more about the calendar here.

My contribution is titled Candy Canes and Cappuccinos, and it’s the story of coffee shop owner Kyle, who’s smitten with regular customer Steven. Without meaning to, Kyle gives the impression that he doesn’t care about the work Steven does to help the less fortunate over the festive season. When he gets the chance to put that right, and ensure a happy Christmas not only for himself and Steven, but for those in the town’s homeless shelter, will he take it?

Find out more about Candy Canes and Cappuccinos by clicking on the book cover below. But first, take a moment to admire the gorgeous artwork produced by Dreamspinner cover artist extraordinaire Paul Richmond. I just love Santa’s facial expression!

Book Review – Vampire Claus by Robert Winter

A vampire without a territory, Taviano arrives in Boston on Christmas Eve. When he was turned, in 19th century Italy, he was studying for the priesthood, and he still finds himself drawn to the familiar ritual of Midnight Mass. While lurking near the church, he manages to prevent a young short order cook, Paul, from being robbed of the presents he’s taking to a shelter for homeless LGBTQ children. Taviano is drawn to Paul, but even though it’s obvious Paul wants him, too, anything that happens between them can only be a one-night thing. Unless, of course, they can experience a Christmas miracle…

Taviano is the kind of vampire romance readers will adore. While the other vampires that feature in this novella are undead monsters, not afraid to use extreme violence to get what they want, Taviano still retains a soul and a moral code. He satiates his need to feed (here personified as a ‘bloodbeast’, a literal demon living inside him) by drinking the blood of muggers, rapists and other lowlife, and he still has strong memories of his life before he was turned. Paul, meanwhile, is poor but good of heart, willing to put others before himself and with a recklessness to his personality that makes him embrace the desires of a vampire rather than run away from them. Both are loners, so naturally they’ll be drawn to each other, and when they have sex it’s hot and sensual and deliciously described.

Robert Winter tends to overdo Paul’s use of slang to emphasise the difference in age and attitude between him and Taviano (does anyone really say “amazeballs”, and if so, please can they stop?), and there’s a rather too contrived revelation about Paul’s family background late in the story, but these are minor quibbles. If you’re looking for a heart-warming slice of paranormal romance to stuff your Christmas stocking, Vampire Claus is the one for you.

Vampire Claus is available from Amazon US and Amazon UK. You can find out more about Robert Winter at his author site.

I received a copy of Vampire Claus from Indigo Marketing in return for an honest review.

Book Review: Unearthly Delights – An ERWA Anthology

For more than twenty years, the Erotic Readers and Writers Association has offered budding writers of erotic fiction a place to discuss and hone their craft. It’s expanded from its original concept of a place where women could find the intelligent erotica that was largely absent from the Internet at that time, and now offers regular book and video reviews, new fiction produced by its members, and is one of the best sites for finding details of publishers’ submission calls and other useful author resources.

Given all that, it’s a surprise that it’s taken quite so long for the ERWA to put together a book showcasing its members’ talents. Unearthly Delights, a collection of paranormal stories edited by ERWA owner and prolific author Selena Kitt, is the first in a planned series of anthologies, and it features a variety of writing styles, from romance to full-on erotica.

The writing is of a uniformly high standard, but it’s best to be warned up front that this is not a collection for the faint of heart. If descriptions of blood-letting make you queasy, then you might be advised to avoid Lisabet Sarai’s elegant but disturbing Underground, the tale of a woman whose need for extreme blood play, and a man who is in tune with her taboo desires, leads her to a club frequented by vampires. Also on the horror end of the spectrum is The Velvet Choker, Selena Kitt’s compelling and very adult take on the classic scary campfire story, The Red Ribbon.

By far the most fun story of the bunch is Daddy X’s The Rasputin Collection. The collection of the title is a set of bronze lamps with highly erotic reliefs in their bases. Reputed to have been owned by the legendary “mad monk”, Rasputin, the lamps exert a strange power when lit, compelling whoever they shine on to perform the acts they portray – much to the surprise, and delight, of their new owner.

Elsewhere, Delores Swallows’ Night Visitors features the classic trope of the couple who buy a run-down home for a bargain price, only to discover that it might not be as uninhabited as they think, Jean Roberta’s A Ripple In The Air pits vampires against those who are fated to protect the world from them, and Belinda La Page’s Imagine is a series of darkly funny flash stories about the misadventures of an alien charged with hunting human men for breeding stock.

Like all anthologies, some stories work better – or appeal more to a reader’s personal tastes – than others. The two contributions that failed to grab me here were Ian D. Smith’s The Lesson of History, which tries to pack too much into the story of a woman who’s testing a device designed to measure the body’s responses to stimulation and has a series of ghostly encounters at a country wedding, and Mary Ramsey’s Mystic Force, about a group of deeply unpleasant and unlikable people who have superpowers. Overall, though, this is a great showcase for the talented writers at the ERWA, and I’m looking forward to seeing more.

Unearthly Delights is available from Amazon US and Amazon UK. You can find out more about the ERWA here.

I was supplied with a copy of Unearthly Delights by Indigo Marketing in return for an honest review.

Stumbling Into Day Of The Dead

This is a post I put together to promote the Myths, Moons and Mayhem MMM paranormal menage anthology. The antho’s editor, Dale, didn’t like how the post appeared when it went up at the Alpha Book Club, so here it is as I wrote it.

Growing up as a child in the UK, I had no knowledge of the Day of the Dead. The big British celebration wasn’t even Halloween in those days – we preferred to throw our parties on November 5th, when we paid tribute to Guy Fawkes’ failure to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Letting off fireworks and eating baked potatoes, Yorkshire parkin and brandy snaps as a way of celebrating the preservation of 17th century democracy may sound bizarre, but it worked for us.

Over the last few years, however, I’ve found myself on a couple of occasions dining in a Mexican restaurant on the Day of the Dead. The atmosphere is always suitably spooky, and you’re greeted by waiting staff with gorgeously painted faces. Indeed, in one restaurant customers were being offered the chance to have their faces decorated, too, though it’s a little disconcerting to look up from your burrito and refried beans to see a host of skulls grinning at you from the neighbouring tables. In that particular establishment, images were projected on the walls of decorated graves and the items used by Mexican families to honour the spirits of their dead relatives, so even if you knew nothing about the Day of the Dead before walking in, you’d have a pretty good idea what it involved by the time you were finishing off your coffees and settling your bill.

These days, you can find recipes online for delicious-looking Day of the Dead biscuits, while the British Museum shop does a nice line in decorated skulls (as well as a Day of the Dead tea towel, because we love to put our own twist on a tradition). It’s a holiday that I doubt will ever have as big grip on the British imagination as Halloween, but if you fancy a change from trick or treating or burning a Guy on a bonfire, Day of the Dead celebrations are there if you know where to look for them.

Of course, if you don’t have any parties lined up, then you can always stay in with a copy of Myth, Moons and Mayhem, and enjoy a selection of gay menage stories in which all manner of spooks, spirits and other creatures come out to play. Have fun whatever you do!

Myths, Moons and Mayhem is edited by Dale Cameron Lowry and published by Sexy Little Pages. It’s available from various ebook retailers – find out more by clicking here.