Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Interview with James L'Etoile

1.Author James L'Etoile's crime fiction work has been recognized by the Creative World Awards, Acclaim Film and the Scriptapalooza Television Script Competition. Bury the Past was a 2018 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award finalist for best procedural of the year. Specializing in gritty crime fiction, his complex, edgy stories are fueled by two decades of experience in prisons and jails across the country. Realistic crime fiction requires an eye for detail while immersed deep within the darkest criminal elements. James brings these stories to life with his background in probation, parole, investigation and prison operation. An experienced Associate Warden, Chief of Institution Operations, Hostage Negotiator and Director of Parole, James is unique among crime fiction authors.

Major social themes weave through his work, including the world of human trafficking and future releases include stories set around black market organ transplants, homelessness, domestic terrorism, political corruption and the pharmaceutical industry. James is represented by Elizabeth K. Kracht, of the Kimberley Cameron & Associates Literary Agency. Follow James.

What is the first piece of writing you ever sold and do you remember how much you got paid for it? Technically, the first paid crime writing gig was preparing pre-sentence investigations. As a probation officer, I would pore over the police reports, talk to the investigators, get victim statements, and interview jailed defendants, all to pull together a “crime story” and a recommendation for the judge. I didn’t know it at the time, but it prepared me for becoming an author. There will never be a critic of your written work, more vocal than a public defender with a client looking at 25 years to life. The first piece of commercial fiction sold was a human trafficking themed thriller, Little River, to a small press in 2013. I didn’t receive an advance for that sale and I donated a portion of the royalties to NotForSale.orghttps://www.notforsalecampaign.org/about-us/, a not-for-profit organization devoted to the fight against human trafficking.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Inspiration for Secret Hexe

As you all know by now, I am part of a boxed set of novels and novellas (Rite to Reign) that's about royal witches. The stories are an eclectic collection--a retelling of the "Little Mermaid," an intriguing take on a familiar Oz figure. The minute i heard the theme of the boxed set, I knew I wanted to write a story about the German princess who became Catherine the Great.

My interest in the empress was partly kindled by Eva Stachniak's wonderful historical novels about her.  But I also have a long-standing fascination with Russian popular culture. I love that beautiful

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Cover Reveal...MotherNature

This cool apocalyptic cover was created by A.S. Oren of Glass Crocodile. She also did the covers for my "Artifacts of Chaos" series and also my "Mortal Cravings" vampire series. I love what she does with saturated color. You can find Glass Crocodile on FB here.

Revenge is a dish best served cold...Sunday fiction flashback

Over at Death's Head Press, they've got a call for submissions for a new anthology with the theme of "Revenge.  They're not accepting reprints, but this is a story I would have written for them:


I got a few quizzical looks when I signed in.  It’s possible some of the women working at the registration desk remembered me but I doubted it.  Back in high school I’d had lank brown hair, bad skin and had carried an extra 30 pounds.  I’d spent my four miserable years at Woodrow Wilson High School being invisible and dreaming of better times to come.  Better times had come.  I looked good for my age.

I spotted Alicia Cooper almost at once.  Alicia Womack, now.  Everyone had expected her to marry Tommy Womack ever since they’d been crowned king and queen at our senior prom.  I hadn’t gone to the prom.  I wasn’t asked.  I’d spent that night sobbing in my bedroom while my poor mother tried desperately to distract me with vanilla milkshakes.  I was inconsolable but I drank two of the milkshakes anyway.  I did things like that in those days. 

I never really thought I’d come to a reunion but as the years slipped by, the notion of making an appearance at my 50th began to seem attractive.  I’d long ago lost touch with everybody, but the reunion committee had set up a group on Facebook, so I was able to get all the information I needed.  I sent in my reservation, made my travel plans, and bought a new dress. 

The banquet room at the Sheraton was decorated with huge black and white photographs blown up from our senior yearbook.  There wasn’t a picture of me.  I’d skipped school the day pictures were taken. 

I drifted around the ballroom to get my bearings.  A few people glanced my way and smiled, inviting me to join their conversations but I kept moving.    

I saw Diane Todd and her husband talking to Harvey and Henrietta Martorelli.  I’d liked Diane.  She’d been nice to me in a way that hadn’t felt like charity.  She’d aged gracefully and the way she and her husband stood shoulder to shoulder told me that she was loved.  I was glad. 

Harvey and Henrietta looked more like siblings now than spouses.  Both had evolved into sexless, blocky creatures with the same graying skin and thinning hair.  Henrietta had been in my honors history and English classes.  She’d been an earnest grade-grubber with a GPA and SAT scores that should have earned her admission to Yale like her brothers, but back then, Yale didn’t accept women, so she’d settled for Bryn Mawr instead. 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Twenty-nine authors in search of readers

Writer and friend to writers Damien Seaman has chronicled the adventures of the Rite to Reign boxed set authors as we negotiate the journey to publication and possible list-making glory!!  It's an interesting read, and you'll get to know some of my fellow writers, including E.B. Black, Candace Osmond, Alex Singh, Mirren Hogan, Stephanie Barr, and Scott Hungerford. You'll find the article

Friday, October 19, 2018

Friday Freebie

I tend to be Amazon-centric in my posts because I own a Kindle and not an iDevice or Kobo. But I'm in this very cool FREEBIE collection of stories and you can pick it up on Apple Books, Kobo, or Google Books right now. (Amazon has been slow to price match.)

Think of this as an appetizer for the feast that is to come when #RitetoReign publishes later this year. Eleven authors who have stories in Rite to Reign have donated stories for First to Reign. My story, Vaikus, is the prequel to my Brotherhood of Stone series coming out next year.

I like the cover a lot. It was designed by Cyberwitch Press' Heather Marie Adkins (USA Today bestselling novelist), who also happens to be one of the authors in the collection and also in #RitetoReign.

Preorder Rite to Reign here to get all sorts of pre-order bonuses and freebies.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Cover stories...

It's no secret that I love book covers, or that I currently have more covers in stock than I have books. (I use them for writing prompts and for inspiration. Yes, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.) I buy a lot of premades, but even my go-to sites for premades are getting kind of pricey. I don't begrudge the designers their money--they have skills that are worth money and they have to eat--but sometimes covers I covet are just plain out of my reach.

And then there's Glass Crocodile Covers' A.S. Oren, who runs INSANELY affordable sales for CUSTOM covers. I bought a Glass Crocodile premade for a novelette I have in mind but when the offer of a custom cover for $35 came up, I jumped on it like a duck on a Junebug. A hundred and five dollars and less than a week later, I had a new set of covers for an upcoming trilogy.

The books are going to be urban fantasy and I'm going with something different--a "mature" leading lady. My heroine is pushing fifty and rocking it, and I am hoping readers will embrace the idea of a heroine who is no longer 18.  We'll see. But in the meantime, look at this gorgeous cover for the first book!!