Writer’s Life

The Troublesome Apprentice: Blog Tour

 
 
 
 
Today, I have a Victor Hamilton from Liza O’Connor’s new humorous Late Victorian mystery series: The Troublesome Apprentice.
Vic Hamilton
Vic: Thanks, call me Vic. Just so you know, I do NOT tie my neck-wear like my picture shows. I think Liza was drunk when she painted it.
Toni: Wouldn’t surprise me in the least. So let’s start the  questions with: Who is the Apprentice and why is he troublesome?
Vic: That would be me. Technically, Xavier Thorn hired me to be his secretary, but he’s teaching me the ropes, which makes me an apprentice. I’m most fortunate, since Xavier’s the finest sleuth in all of England.
Toni: Hold on. Isn’t Sherlock Holmes supposed to be the greatest?
Vic: Holmes is a fictional character of Conan Doyle’s.  And word for the wise: NEVER call Xavier Mr. Holmes. Clients are always doing that and it infuriates him to no end.
Toni: You do realize that Xavier Thorn is as fictional as Sherlock Holmes.
Vic: Not at all! In Liza’s universe, Xavier is as real as I am.  However, Sherlock is a fictional character and has no resemblance to the living, breathing, and dare I say handsome Xavier Thorn.  *Vic laughs* But it is funny when people persist upon calling him Mr. Holmes. They often receive a scorching lecture on the difference between real and fictional people for their mistake.
Toni: I’ll keep that in mind if we ever meet. Now why are you called the Troublesome Apprentice?
Vic: I think it’s because I wish to eat three times a day. Xavier has trained himself only to eat one meal, but my  stomach requires three.
Toni: Sounds reasonable. So how have you been getting along other than that issue.
Vic:  He let’s me perform first interviews of clients, because he clients annoy him. They seem to think he can solve their problem even if they lie to him about important facts. So he has me serve them tea, while he tells them I will do the interview, and if they lie to me, I will be fired.
Toni: That’s hardly fair.
Vic:I’m certain it is a ploy to make them tell me the truth, and it seems to be working, so I can’t complain. Instead of having to ferret out the true facts the clients failed to mention, Xavier has time to teach me the skills of an investigator.
Toni: So you are enjoying your new career?
Vic:I love everything about it. Xavier says I have the best intuitive skills he’s ever seen. Everyone one acts like I pull the truth out of mid-air, but as a reader, you’ll see I get there quite logically. However, Chief Inspector Stone of Scotland Yard wants tangible evidence so even after I’ve figured out who needs to be arrested, getting the evidence can be devilishly difficult. That was the case in nearly all the mysteries I worked on in book 1.
Toni: So you solve more than one case?
Vic: Oh yes, in book 1 we solve five mysteries, and Xavier and I fall in love, although I must admit I resisted on the later point.
Toni: That’s right, you’re actually a young woman who was raised as a boy. Why didn’t you wish to be a woman?
Vic:I know you are from the future, but have you read about all the things women aren’t allowed to do in the Victorian age? Who wouldn’t choose to be a young man if they had an obliging aunt who’d allow it? I wanted to live an exciting life, not bathe twice a day and change my clothes every two hours! Honestly, how a woman gets anything done is beyond me.
Toni: So you are happy with your life as a young man?
Vic:Being a man, yes. I could never be anything else now. However, I was greatly distressed when my aunt was murdered and I was determined to find the cretin  responsible. Once Xavier took me on and promised to pay me an astronomical salary of a 100 pounds a month, we not only solved my aunt’s death, but several more crimes.  Which reminds me, I have to get back to work now. I have to convince a beautiful young woman to leave England before Xavier can meet her. All men fall in love with her on sight, so I want her gone…for her safety of course.
Toni: Well, I wish you luck. Thank you for stopping by.
Vic: My pleasure. Liza told me to give you this additional information about the book.
 
The
Adventures of
Xavier & Vic
Book
1
The Troublesome Apprentice
By Liza O’Connor
 
Cases
Solved:
The Key to Aunt Maddy’s Death
The Missing Husband of Mrs. Wimple
The Disappearing Scarlet Nun
The Clever Butcher’s Wife
The Rescue of Lady Anne
 
 
While investigating the death of a friend and client, Maddy Hamilton, Xavier Thorn (reputed to be the greatest sleuth in England) is greatly impressed with Maddy’s nephew, Victor, and offers him a job as his secretary. Aware of Xavier’s history of firing secretaries, Victor garners a promise that for three months he cannot be fired. Vic then proceeds, in Xavier’s view, to be cheeky and impertinent at every turn. Xavier endures the impudent pup because Victor is most skilled in extracting the truth from clients and intuiting facts with little evidence to assist. As they solve a string of cases, Xavier discovers a few more important details about his troublesome apprentice, such as her true gender, and the realization that she has awakened his long dormant heart.
 
Vic knelt down to reduce her height and reached to the sill of the fireplace. “What if he knocked over the vase when searching the sill, then feared the item might have been in the vase and had fallen into the embers?”
“A reasonable possibility. Do you think he recovered what he sought in the ashes?”
“No, for he continues his search. You can see soot on the coffee table and side table drawers.” Vic pulled them open to study the contents. Dark smudges marred the napkins and doilies in the top one. The other, however, was completely empty. “How odd.”
“What did the bottom one have in it?”
“Buttons.”
“As in buttons for dresses?”
“Rather too bold for a dress, although some had been snipped from coats. Aunt Maddy collected fanciful buttons.” Vic stared at Xavier’s suit. “The ones on your vest would have caught her eye. I used to tease her she was part crow, for they are reputed to have a weakness for gewgaws.”
Pain filled her heart. She’d never tease Aunt Maddy about anything ever again. She paused and choked back the tears threatening to fall.
“Were they valuable?” Xavier’s voice lost its bark.
“Some had jewels embedded, but nothing one would kill for.” Vic shook her head. “I don’t think he came for Maddy’s collection, I think he simply couldn’t resist it once discovered.”
“I agree. How did you reach your conclusion?”
“Because he now searches the desk. If he had come for the buttons, he would have left directly.”
“And how did you determine he searched the desk last?”
“The footprints show he went first to the fireplace, and from there we can follow a trail of soot until we reach the small side table. It is here the soot stops. Perhaps he took out his handkerchief, wiped his hands, before bundling the buttons in the cloth. With his hands now clean, he ran them through his hair, either because he has a nervous tick or perhaps a stray lock had fallen into his eyes. Intending to search elsewhere, he walked to the door and tried to open it. In doing so, he left an oily residue from his hand. Finding the library door locked, he returned to the desk and, using the letter opener, pried free the center drawer.” Vic opened the desk drawer and frowned at the chaos. “He certainly searched in here. Aunt Maddy kept a very tidy desk.”
“Can you tell if anything is missing?”
“Not in this state. I would have to put everything back in place first.”
“Do it,” Xavier said. “So far all we know about the object the man sought is it isn’t paper. Had it been, he would have gone to the desk first.”
“Nor is it something he expected Aunt Maddy to value greatly, or why would she leave it on the fire sill or in a table drawer?”
Xavier stared at her.
“What?”
“Nothing. Continue on with your work.”
As Vic put all the objects of the drawer back into their proper places, she discovered one thing: Xavier Thorn had absolutely no patience.
“How long could this possibly take?”
“There are hundreds of items,” Vic explained.
Xavier exhaled in frustration. “It is good I sent home my driver. He would have died from pneumonia by now. By the way, your butler has obligated you to provide me with a carriage home.”
 Vic smiled at his declaration.
“I trust your smile is one of compliance. Are you not done yet?”
“I will tell you when I’m done,” Vic snapped. “And why are you suddenly so impatient?”
“Beyond the drawer, we are done here. I wish to proceed with the investigation!”
Vic stopped. “Mr. Thorn, I do not expect you to do more than what you have so ably done today.”
“Are you firing me?” Xavier asked in outrage.
“I have not actually hired you. I only wished for your advice, but it was wrong of me to think you would do this without expecting compensation. Send me your bill and I will see it is paid.” Vic had no idea how she would do so, given she had no money.
“Bloody hell! I will not be brought in and then tossed aside at your whim. Maddy Hamilton was not just a client, but a friend, and I had every intention of finding her killer before you invited me here to use me and cast me off like a dock whore.”
Vic stopped working on the drawer. Clearly, she had insulted Mr. Thorn, but what caught her attention was a particular part of his ranting. “You knew she was killed before we even spoke?”
“Yes. It is why I wished to speak to you. If you recall, that is what I said when I introduced myself.”
“How did you know she’d been murdered?”
Xavier paused, as if debating whether to answer.
“I am sorry I insulted you,” Vic offered in hopes of soothing his temper. “It was not intentional. Please understand, I loved my aunt dearly, and I can either fall apart over her death or focus on finding her killer. I believe the latter is more productive. Moreover, I would greatly appreciate your help, but it appears Aunt Maddy had little money left when she died and, until I find a job, I cannot afford your services.”
She paused and met his unnerving glare. “I should have explained my situation from the first. But before you leave, could you please tell me how you knew she’d been murdered?”
 
 
The
Troublesome Apprentice
Is Coming August 1, 2014
 
 
 
I’m tired of telling my proper bio. So you get the improper bio.
 
Liza O’Connor was raised by feral cats, which explains a great deal, such as why she has no manners, is always getting in trouble, and doesn’t behave like a proper author and give you a proper bio.
 
She is highly unpredictable, both in real life and her stories, and presently writes humorous romances. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. They will likely traumatize you.
 
 
Mostly humorous books by Liza:
Saving Casey – Old woman
reincarnates into troubled teen’s body. (Half funny/half traumatizing)
Ghost LoverTwo British brothers fall in love with the same young woman. Ancestral ghost is called in to fix the situation. There’s a ghost cat too.
(Humorous Contemporary Romance)
 
A Long Road to Love Series: (Humorous  Contemporary odd Romance)
Worst Week Ever
— Laugh out loud week of disasters of Epic proportions.
Oh Stupid Heart
— The heart wants what it wants, even if it’s impossible.
Coming to Reason
— There is a breaking point when even a saint comes to reason.
Climbing out of Hell
— The reconstruction of a terrible man into a great one.
 
Don’t Forget
to enter to win one of the two $25 Amazon Gift Cards.
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Categories: Featured Author Thursday, Toni Kelly, Uncategorized, Writer's Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

A Review: Love and Vengeance

LandVpic

All right, something a bit different this week. I know I usually feature authors but this week, I decided to feature a book I recently read and reviewed. Enjoy!

Okay, I have to say that from the start I was fascinated by the plot of this book. I know the movie is a few years old, but I’ll never forget Gladiator and how entranced I was by Russell Crowe’s character. Not to mention there is the recent gladiator movie Pompeii that was fairly interesting as well. But back to this story which first hooked me just because you don’t see many gladiator story lines out there.

From page one, you get insight into this very different world of Ancient Rome and our very appealing, tortured hero, Marcus. Marcus is a noble turned to a barbarian through awful secrets and betrayals. His story is one you can’t help sympathize with because it is so unfair. Though lowly, he is no doubt a champion inside the gladiator ring and outside of it, most especially when it comes to Gustina. Admittedly, I was completely into Marcus from the start. I’m a sucker for those darker, tortured yet strong males and he completely lived up to expectations.

Gustina was amazing as a strong heroine and Ms. Danna does a great job of emerging us into this ancient world. As awful as Gustina is treated and as awful as the realities of her life as a slave are, we as the readers have to face the fact that life for slaves in Ancient Rome was simply that, difficult and at times truly horrible. Gustina’s strength only makes you gasp in wonder at how she survives it all.

Gustina and Marcus’ relationship is one of passion and fire and I was engrossed throughout this entire book. I hated what they suffered through and their emotional roller coaster kept me flying through the pages. This is my first novel I’ve read of Ms. Danna’s and I was certainly not disappointed. In fact, I will definitely be reading quite a bit more of her work. And soon!

Categories: Featured Author Thursday, Toni Kelly, Writer's Life | Tags: , | 13 Comments

Monday Mini Excerpt

 

Hi All,

Thought I’d share a short excerpt from Blood Eternal, probably one of my most favorite scenes to imagine in this book. I feel it very sad, yet revealing of what exist between Luke and Savannah:

“Could you promise me you would never kill again?” Savannah’s voice broke on the last two

words, as if it cost everything to say them.

“No.” Luke would never make a promise he could not keep. Even now he made plans to

save her. If those plans involved killing Lorenzo, he would do so without a second thought.

“Why not?”

“Death is a part of me. You stated you could not change for anyone ever again. I cannot

change who I am, either. As much as I want to.” He brushed her chin with his fingers. “I could

not live with myself if anything were to happen to you, understand?”

“I wish I could,” she said.

His chest seized at her words. The road curved ahead, slithering like a snake through

verdant landscape. A heavy mist glowed silver beneath the moon’s light, its arms stretched and

wafting across the hills. The lonely scene spoke to him. Its rhythm would have matched his

heart’s beat, had he possessed one.

 

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When Is It Enough

Check out my post on Nights of Passion by clicking here.

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Sunday Snippet: May I Have This Dance?

Check out a fight scene from a old work that I’ve now decided to rework. This is near where this novella starts where Gemma (our heroine) sees Sebastian (our main man or hero if you prefer). Enjoy!

 

Up ahead, three males surrounded Sebastian and another male. This wouldn’t usually concern Gemma but the red streak across Sebastian’s shirt did. “Is that blood on Sebastian?”

Carlyn frowned. “I don’t see him as the fighting type.”

“Not usually,” Sara said.

Yet it became quite obvious Sebastian and the largest of the males were not on friendly terms. Gemma balled her hands into fists as Carlyn stopped the car. Every muscle in her tensed as the dark-haired male rushed Sebastian. Their bodies connected, but Sebastian twisted, pushing him into the bushes.

Pulled by instinct, fear or plain insanity, Gemma couldn’t open the passenger side of the car fast enough. She ran toward the fight. Three other men stood watching as Sebastian and his attacker wrestled between punches. Sebastian’s dominance soothed her nerves. He ducked his attacker’s fist and landed a hook to the side of the man’s face.

As she neared, Sebastian’s gaze registered surprise. Her chest fluttered for an instant, then clenched as his attacker’s fist connected with his face, knocking him off balance.

“No.” Gemma fell to the ground beside him.

A thick arm wrapped around her neck, hoisting her up and away before she could touch him. She stumbled, losing her footing as she clawed away the pressure preventing her from breathing

“Take your hands off her or I will rip you to shreds.” Sebastian stood in front of her, chest heaving, eyes burning with fury.

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The Writer Inside

I was combing through pictures on the web this weekend and couldn’t help but be inspired by the beauty in nature. People ask me all the time where I get inspiration for books or how I come up with ideas. I just look around me and scenes start to unfold. It could be something as incredible as the early sun rays over hills:

EarlySun

 

Or it could be this amazing rocky sunset landscape:

RocksWater

 

Or it could be a city skyline:

CitySkyline

Or it could be the simple acts of people around us, good or bad that just leave an impression and create a story in my mind. I’m not sure if it works the same way for all writers but I imagine there has to be similarities. And although it can surely drive one nuts when your mind is always dreaming up potential stories, it is tons of fun to see where the mind can take us. Even for those of you who don’t write, you may spend time reading or watching movies where you are inspired and your own dreams and stories start to form. Let yourself be open to the experience next time it occurs, don’t quash it and you may just find the writer inside you.

Have a great rest of your week!

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Release Day: May I Have This Dance Excerpt

Hi All!

Welcome to the release day for First Frost, A Lyrical Press Anthology! This is a gift from several of Lyrical’s very talented authors and editors as well as Lyrical Press itself to our lovely readers out there. You can click here to read blurbs on all the stories and get download links.

Today I have included an excerpt from my very own May I Have This Dance for you all to read. This novella is available within the First Frost Anthology so if you like what you read, download it free! You’ll get several other great novellas too!

Enjoy and thank you readers out there. You make writing so much fun!

FirstFrostExcerpt:

“If you think I’ll sit by and watch you throw away everything, you’ve got another thing coming.” His father’s dark gaze lingered on Gemma. “You’re better than that.”

Sebastian pressed his lips together. The pointed remark pushed him past his breaking point. He returned his father’s stare. “I won’t say I agree with the stance Grandfather took, but history shows he didn’t have much luck convincing you of that once upon a time.”

“I behaved young and foolishly, much like you.” His father basically had wished away his only son’s existence. Who was he kidding? Father would never understand him. Any passion for what life could bring had died with Mom.

“Then you should know I need to figure out life on my own.”

“Don’t be stupid. Why repeat my mistakes?”

“Stupid? First I’m irresponsible and now I’m stupid? What you don’t understand is I don’t see them as mistakes. I take no issue with them and they define me as much as my achievements do.”

“I’m telling you, it’s not worth the trouble.”

“I don’t know about that.” He turned and slipped a hand around the back of Gemma’s neck, leaned in and kissed her. He’d meant it to be rough and angry and short, but she responded, taking him off guard. He lost himself in the kiss, deepening it then reluctantly pulling away. The sleepy, stunned look in Gemma’s eyes mirrored how he felt. He forced himself to face his father. “I’d say she’s damn well worth it.”

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A Workplace Snapshot

Thought I’d share a snapshot of my cozy little (I stress little) workplace. Nothing fancy but it appears to be getting the job done. Hope you all are having a great week writing and reading and Happy Monday!

WorkSpace

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