04 February 2015

The Merchant of Death Tour Stop!

 All’s fair in love and war.

There’s something rotten in the state of Indiana. When con man Henry Page takes it upon himself to investigate the death of an elderly patient at a care facility, he does so in true Shakespearean tradition: dressed as a girl.

FBI Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness has more to worry about than Henry’s latest crazy idea. Someone is trying to send him a message—via a corpse with a couple of bullets in it. He needs to figure out who’s trying to set him up before he gets arrested, and he really doesn’t have time for Henry’s shenanigans. Then again, he’d probably be able to focus better if Henry didn’t look so damn distracting in a babydoll dress and a wig.

But when Mac discovers that Henry has been keeping a secret that connects the cases, he has to find a way to live on the right side of the law when he just might be in love with the wrong sort of man.
I may have been walking around my house the last few days humming a new little ditty that goes something like this:

Mac and Cheese go great together. Mac and Cheese, perfect together. Mac AND Cheeeese.

Just when you thought things couldn’t get anymore complicated, well Henry comes along with a brilliant plan and Mac finds himself caught up in a cross dressing caper while OPR is on him at work.

Viola is in trouble. Someone at the care facility she lives in is playing the Angel of Death and until the mystery is solved Henry refuses to let Viola go back to that place. He decides to take it upon himself to investigate the situation by dressing up as Vi and pretending to be her. Mac reluctantly tries to assist Henry but he’s got problems of his own to deal with and he’s not exactly buying into Henry’s claims that something nefarious is going down at the care clinic.

Someone is trying to frame Mac for the murder of a low life drug dealer named Lonny and the whole mess has Jimmy Rasnick’s stench on it.  Too bad Jimmy Rasnick is dead, not like anyone misses him, but he may have had answers to who exactly was behind the frame job and why. Mac is juggling his desires for Henry and his need to protect his witness all while trying to investigate the case against himself. With his best friend and boss Val backing him Mac will do everything he can to clear his name and keep Henry out of trouble but with Henry running around in a skirt looking delectable Mac is having a hard time staying focused.

In this book we get some insight into Henry or shall I say Sebastian’s traumatic past and some understanding into the events that drove him into his current path in life. His past is haunting him in a way that keeps him from letting himself open up completely with others but Mac’s constant support has Henry rethinking things. Perhaps he can be the guy who doesn’t need to run away or change his identity. He just has to discover exactly what his identity is before he can make such a big change in his life but before Henry has a chance to contemplate things he’s on the run again. However, this time he’s on the run with Mac and Viola. They’ve got to get Mac out of town fast so they can discover who is framing Mac before OPR arrests him and charges him with a murder he didn’t commit.

Henry and Mac are on my list of favorite crime-fighting duo. I adored the scene with Mac in his car on the way to save Henry. The imagery of Mac driving 12 miles over the speed limit, yelling at Janice and singing Eye of the Tiger. I was laughing so hard.  Breaking the rules! He’s a renegade!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Who in your personal life was the biggest supporter of your writing?

J.A.: I’ve had a lot of amazingly supportive people, but I think my parents win. My dad was always insistent that I follow my dreams, and my mom still reads everything I write, no matter how dirty it is.

Lisa: Family, of course, but then, family are supposed to be supportive. My dad used to let me borrow his laptop on weekends, back when I was in high school, then he’d take me into his office to print everything out. Ha! Yeah, Westpac Bank! I totally used all your office supplies! That’s payback for transferring our family every two years when I was growing up. Also, I stole post it notes I DIDN’T EVEN NEED!

Do you prefer quiet or background noise when writing? If background noise, what?

Lisa: iTunes is my best friend when I’m writing. I tend to do up playlists for whatever I’m working on, whether it’s songs that relate to the theme somehow, or just songs I like at the moment, and listen to those playlists on repeat for as long as it takes.

J.A. I like silence when I’m writing. But the dog snores so loudly I never get it.

What is one thing you wish your readers could understand about the writing process?

J.A.: That there is no process. Writing is fueled by alcohol and feelings of deep and abiding insecurity.

Lisa: True. Any process is purely accidental.

If your characters could come to life and be a real human, which one do you think you would get along with best and which one would drive you crazy first?

Lisa: Henry Page would drive me insane. Completely. I’d probably punch him. I mean, I love him to bits, but I also think Mac deserves some sort of award for patience by putting up with him for so very, very long. I think I’d get on well with Mac. I mean, he needs to loosen up a bit, but he’s basically a good guy. I’d like to buy him a beer. I kind of feel I owe him a beer.

J.A.: I kind of think Henry and I would have a great time. We’re both obsessed with costumes and cake. I agree that Mac’s patience is admirable, but Mac wouldn’t take me to go get donuts.

When did you start writing and what was your inspiration?

J.A.: I started writing as soon as I was old enough to make words. I was inspired by a lot of people, but I give most of the credit to my six-year-old self’s archnemesis, Dennis Volmer. I’ve never met him, nor do I know what he’s doing today. But when he was six, he published a book about a whale. I had recently written and illustrated a book about a dolphin. When I learned of Dennis’s success, I was furious, and vowed that one day I would be published too.

Lisa: I wish I’d had an arch nemesis. All I had was a lack of TV when we lived in Papua New Guinea. And there was also no library, so once we’d bought out the supply of Golden Books at the local supermarket, there were no more. My mum encouraged my sister and I to make up our own stories and write them down. I guess I just never stopped.

Is there a genre or type of book that you love to read but could never write and if so why?

J.A.: Mystery! I love reading good mysteries, but I don’t have the right kind of brain to write them. I am always surprised by mystery plot twists. Like, the author can plant so many clues, and I’m still like, HOLY CRAP. I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING.

I mean, we have mild mysteries in the PTF books. But that’s probably mostly thanks to Lisa.

Lisa: I wrote a mystery once. I’m pretty sure it’s unpublishable. I should re-read it one day. I tried to write an epic fantasy once, when I was fifteen, I got really, really bored and ending up shipping all my characters. So I probably should have been writing romance from the start. I also once tried to write a poem longer than Hiawatha, when I was twelve. It’s longer alright, but oh god... I should probably burn it.

J.A.: No, you should give it to me. I promise I won’t show up at some important occasion in your life to read it aloud.

Since you've been writing how much has the genre changed? Good, bad?

J.A.: I think there’s more stuff out there now. That’s my eloquent answer. And I think we’re getting increasing freedom to write different types of romances. Some of the “rules” that were in place for my early books, I feel like have either disappeared or are easier to work around. I feel more able to experiment. So that’s good!

Lisa: I also think the genre is opening up a little more, and, if you do experiment, readers will follow you. Maybe that’s because we’re a little more established now though, I don’t know. I think m/m is definitely becoming more mainstream, which is great.
Seeing more and more authors going the "self-pub' route. Thoughts?

J.A.: We tried it last year, and it was overall a positive experience. Though I prefer the support we get from publishers.

Lisa: It was fun! But only because JA did all the formatting. Yes, one thing self-publishing does is really illustrate how much support you do get from publishers.

How much thought do you as an author put into your cover, cover models etc. And has that changed since you started writing. If so, have you or will you go back and re-do covers you’re no longer pleased with?

J.A.: We don’t usually have too much say in our covers. Some publishers have more detailed cover art request forms than others. I’d say covers for me are pretty hit or miss. I’ve had some awesome ones, and a couple I wouldn’t mind seeing redone. We freaking love the PLAYING THE FOOL covers!

Lisa: Oh wow! The Playing the Fool covers! Love, love, love! Also, donuts! I really, really want a donut right now.
What is the most intense scene you have ever written? Did you find it difficult writing that scene?

J.A.: Hmm. The one that jumps to mind is the orchard sex scene in WHEN ALL THE WORLD SLEEPS. It is loooong. I remember being physically exhausted after it, and also never wanting to read it again. I think I only read it one time during the entire editing process. For most of the edit rounds, I would just skip over that part and let Lisa address those edits. I have no idea why, either! I may have sacrificed a piece of my soul during that scene.

Lisa: I love the orchard scene! I’m sure it was totally worth all the pain you suffered and the piece of your soul you lost. It was totally worth it for me, at least. I did none of the work, yet share half the credit. #winning. I think some of the most intense scenes I’ve written would be for ANOTHER MAN’S TREASURE. There was a lot of tension in some of those, and a lot of terrible things going on. But I actually love writing intense scenes. It’s the everyday scenes where nobody is being emotionally eviscerated that I find most difficult.

If you could write in any genre that you've never tried, what would it be and why?

Lisa: This is the year that JA and I attempt The Great YA Project. It’ll be interesting to see if we can write something without the characters having explicit kinky sex. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

J.A.: Yes! We managed without sex in TWO GENTLEMEN OF ALTONA. Though the book did end up being really short.

When thinking about writing any specific genre, what triggers your fears and insecurities the most?

J.A.: Everything triggers my fears and insecurities. Going to the store, doing my taxes, waking up in the morning... I think that’s why I’m so willing to experiment in any genre of writing. Because nothing I ever do writing-wise will scare me half as much as going to the DMV.

Lisa: Oh god. Why did you bring up the t-word. You know I can’t cope with even thinking about visiting my accountant who, by the way, is the loveliest woman in the world. I just... *shudders*. What’s weird is, looking back on my writing, the thing I was always most nervous about was writing sex scenes. I guess I totally embraced the fear, right? Total immersion therapy for the win!


  1. You two have the best blog tours! I would follow them even if you weren't giving anything away because they are always fun. :)

  2. Woops, you probably need my email. aahickmanathotmaildotcom

  3. I definitely enjoyed this interview the most so far! You guys always crack me up. I've never followed a Blog Tour before, but it's a lot of fun!


  4. I love the interview! I kinda agree about Henry. He's hilarious to read about, but in real life I might not feel the same way. In fact, I think I channel Mac more. Great review, too. The last paragraph got me laughing so hard.

    Waxapplelover (at) gmail (dot) com

  5. nice interview

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  6. Thanks for the great interview! amaquilante(at)gmail(dot)com

  7. Thanks for the review and interview! Loved the image of the dog snoring while you write. I work from home and my cat does the same thing.

    jen.f {at} mac {dot} com