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Summer news 2015! Read on!
In this newsletter:
  • Irregulars' "Cherries Worth Getting" trailer
  • Publisher's Weekly Praise for Lane Robins' Renovation
  • Interview with Lane Robins, author of Renovation
  • When Blind Eye Books Authors Play Elsewhere: Josh Lanyon's Wizard's Moon, Wedding Favors, and the upcoming Winter Kill
Hello everyone,

These past few weeks have been busy at Blind Eye Books! We released our first-ever book trailer for "Cherries Worth Getting" by Nicole Kimberling. The novella is one of the four featured in our fantastic shared-world anthology Irregulars. We are also working on adapting this very same story into audio to be released this summer. Will we become giants of multimedia? Or just have a One Block Empire? Who is to say?
 
Stay tuned for the next newsletter, which will feature an interview with performer, Tommy Jordan, about his experience portraying Keith Curry in the trailer as well as recording the audiobook.

Trailer for the Irregulars story "Cherries Worth Getting" by Nicole Kimberling
Renovation by Lane Robins

Mystery, adventure, romance, it has it all!


Available at:

Blind Eye Books ~ Weightless Books ~ Kobo

Amazon ~ ARe ~ B&N

Praise from Publisher's Weekly:
 
Robins cleverly balances tension and release in this suspenseful mystery. JK Lassiter has simple ambitions: to launch his career in flipping real estate and have a life to call his own. He struggles to control his psychic powers with a combination of hard work, wearing gloves, and maintaining a strict medication regimen. When he embarks on a summer restoration project, he finds that the neighborhood harbors more dark memories and secrets than he can cope with—and it’s simultaneously made very attractive by his handsome neighbor Nick Collier. JK soon finds himself more involved with the house and its surroundings than he intended to be. Someone on the street is a murderer, and only JK is aware that a man is dead. By interweaving blooming passion with grim magic and constantly raising the stakes, Robins draws the reader smoothly into the mystery. As JK takes risks to help his new neighbors, he finds reasons to grow stronger and become his own man. The thrilling resolution feels earned and satisfying, with good intentions unraveling the careful balance of secrets and grief. 
 

Special Interview with Lane Robins, author of our forthcoming book, Renovation, conducted by Abi Walton, Blind Eye Book’s UK Correspondent.

 

Meeting with Lane Robins 

 
Did you always want to be a writer?
 
Not exclusively, but definitely continuously. Sometimes I wanted to 
be mermaid, or a witch. Or a cryptozoologist. Or a vet who could talk to animals. But I never grew fins, couldn’t get a spell to work no matter how much I tried to make it rhyme, and my pets never communicated anything beyond “HUNGRY” and “PET ME NOW”.

 
Writing seemed like a sensible fallback position.
 
More seriously, yes. I was writing stories in first grade, in sixth grade, in seventh grade, through high school, and I breathed a giant sigh of relief when I learned that a creative writing major was a real thing. Finally, all this wordage could be put to good use! Of course, then I learned that “genre” was a dirty word in many academic settings. 
 
Since the (literary) BA didn’t help me much in writing SF/F novels, I turned to Odyssey workshop. It was kind of a series of make or break moments: Could I get in? If I did get in, did I have what it took to write all day every day for six weeks while facing critical feedback? I figured if I couldn’t handle that, I should just relegate writing to a hobby. 
 
Thankfully, I loved the workshop. Turns out that writing every day is pretty much my slice of heaven.
 
What was the first story you wrote?
 
The first story I wrote was incomplete and mostly in purple and blue crayons. “Mr. Cher-bob-alee.” About a fish who found a diamond and wanted to return it, so he needed to get out of the water and go walking about on land. It was supposed to amuse my littlest brother, but mostly it only amused me. The first story I ever wrote that I was proud of? It was a terrible Gordon R Dickson pastiche I wrote in 9th grade. I learned better, but I still remember how pleased I was with myself.
 
You’re an established novelist. How long did it take you to get your first book published?
 
Getting Maledicte (my first book) published seemed to go pretty quickly. At least in comparison to writing the damned thing, which took me close to 5 years. I had no idea what I was doing when I was writing it. :-) And it really showed. 
 
I finished Maledicte in 2005, shopped it around to agents, and, in a piece of very good timing, I found an agent who was actively looking for new fantasy novelists. My agent found an editor with Del Rey who wanted to take on a second-world fantasy with a seriously villainous protagonist, and after a year of massive rewriting, Maledicte was published in 2007. 
 
Do you listen to music when you write?
 

In 
coffee-shops, where I can’t control the content? Yes. I love that. 

 
At home, I can’t listen to music because I spend too much time cherry-picking a “perfect” writing playlist instead of actually writing. I’m much more likely to listen to television crime dramas as background noise. CSI is one of my favorite shows to have on in the background: not a lot of shrieking, long musical interludes, and people sounding vaguely 
intelligent 
while problem solving.

 
You have also written The Shadows Inquiries series under the pen name Lyn Benedict. Why the different pen name?
 
For two reasons. One was purely a matter of timing. My sequel book Kings & Assassins and the first Shadows book, Sins & Shadows, were scheduled to come out in the same month from two separate publishers. Neither publishing house’s marketing departments liked the idea of promoting a “rival” book. So ACE said, pick a name, and oh yeah, the last name should start with B. Because we say so. 
  
Throughout college, I’d written 
soap operaish series of novellas about sexy thieves in New Orleans and the police who loved/loathed them. One of the characters in that soap opera was a novelist as well as a cat burglar, and her last name happened to begin with B… So I named myself after my own novel-writing character. Lyn Benedict. It’s amused me for years. 

  
The second reason was marketing. Back then, people were more concerned about branding, I think. It wasn’t enough that I wrote “fantasy”. They had to specify: Lane Robins wrote second-world fantasy; Lyn Benedict wrote urban fantasy.
  
Who is your favorite character in Renovation?
 
Oh, that’s not fair! I love all my characters equally… Okay, no, I can’t lie. I really do adore JK. I’ve written a lot of dark-natured characters with fierce and angry personalities. I loved getting to write JK—a sweet-natured guy, unaware of how attractive he really is. He’s a guy who’s able to keep a sense of hope, no matter how life keeps knocking him down. 
 
Then again, Nick’s sort of quietly remarkable. He’s a man who takes on a psychic boyfriend without much concern about what JK 
might 
see with his abilities. I don’t know that I’d be as unflinching or as brave as Nick about taking on a lover who could learn things about me just from a touch.

 

What inspired you to write about remodeling a house?
 
Too many hours of HGTV? 
 
Maybe because I grew up on ghost stories where houses were always a major character, and in ghost stories the houses are often shifting and changing on you.
 
Maybe because I grew up in Miami and remodeling was a seasonal sport there. 
 
Maybe because houses reveal more about us than we think. I loved house-hunting, adored seeing all these telling pieces of other people’s lives. Though I love my own little house, I would go house-hunting every weekend if I thought the local realtors would let me. 
 
But mostly, I think I wrote about remodeling a house because there’s something compelling about the way we try to stamp our personality on our houses, and how someone else can come in and change everything the house is. We leave these marks on the world, but they’re not permanent. Nothing’s permanent, even things as solid as houses. If they’re good, they can go bad. If they’re bad, they can be made better. 
 
What is your all time favorite novel?
 
That really depends on the day, my mood, and my glitchy memory. 
Top 
contenders are: Georgette Heyer’s A Blunt Instrument, Terry Pratchett’s Thief of Time, Patricia Wrede & Caroline Stevermer’s Sorcery & Cecilia, or Faking It by Jennifer Crusie.
 
But so many new books come out every year and add to the pile of amazing reads. Right now, I’m crazy for The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, Kate Griffin’s Matthew Swift books, and Edgar Cantero’s The Supernatural Enhancements
 
There are certain elements I always love: vivid characters with snappy dialogue, stylish writing, and confident world-building. Books with an unconventional romance also appeal to me.
 
Which writers and/or works inspire you?
 
Jennifer Crusie writes some of the best characters I’ve ever seen, and some of the funniest dialogue. I’m not particularly talented at funny, but I study her for ways to reveal character.
 
Martha Wells does some of the best fantasy world-building and plotting out there. Her worlds always feel deeply inhabited, and reading them is an immersive event. And her opening sentences are gems. 
 
Agatha Christie is the queen of delicate plotting. Her books have zero wasted space in them. Every line of dialogue; every casual meeting ends up being revelatory to the mystery. It’s amazing. And she was so ridiculously productive!
 
But really any book I read is liable to be dissected by my brain: good, bad, indifferent, or amazing. I learn a lot from asking myself why some books didn’t work for me and others did. 
 
What exciting new projects are you currently working on?
 
What exciting projects am I NOT working on? If I’m excited about an idea, I try to shoe-horn it into my writing year. I am constantly overscheduling myself for books I want to write. Like most writers, I have more ideas than time.
 
Currently I am working on the sequel to Renovation. I’m also working on a fantasy novel about a princess whose life goes from bad to worse when she escapes assassination and ends up cursed. And I have a novel I’ve been dying to revise for more years than I want to admit: an SF/romantic thriller about enhanced supersoldiers in love.
 
You’re well known for your Antyre series, which includes Maledicte and Kings and Assassins. What drew you to writing fantasy?
 
Everything’s better with magic. Really, I think it’s that simple in my brain. I love the way fantasy elements—from a single psychic gift to an entirely magical world where gods walk the streets—can really let you explore the human mind and heart. 
 
I’ve only written a handful of stories without magic in them—primarily for my creative writing classes, and they weren’t enjoyable for me or my readers. Even the soap opera novellas that I wrote took a massive fantastic twist when one of the thieves turned out to be an amnesiac and slumming god. 
 
You can’t take the fantasy out of this author.
 
How was Renovation born?
 
A piece of eye candy! Someone posted a picture of a stunningly well-built construction worker, and I just thought, oh yes please. Then I wanted to write a story about a construction worker, and since the first thing a writer does is take a character and yank them out of their comfort zone, I tried to figure out what would make this construction worker feel out of place. So I decided he had an awkward psychic gift—a form of psychometry which made his working life a potential hell. The psychic ability led to a painful past that shook his confidence. Naturally, psychic abilities led to the murder house. Then Nick showed up, and turned it into a romance/mystery. 
 
What topics did you research for this novel?
 
Craftsman houses and Dallas’s incredibly weird construction scene. Psychiatric medicines. The types of gloves a young man could buy in bulk online. How awkward gloves really would be to wear 24/7. That last one was hands on, so to speak. :-) I dropped a lot of things. 
 
What do you think is important to the process of creating fully realized main characters?
 
For me, I want to feel like these characters existed before the book begins and will exist after it ends. That if the scene ends, I can still imagine them doing things not related to the immediate plot. Characters who only exist to be moved through the plot paces tend to feel like one-dimensional puppets for the author. 
 
I write a lot of scrap scenes that never ever make it into my novels, just to let me see what the characters do or think about a whole slew of separate situations that don’t necessarily arise in the book. 
 
Is Renovation your first LGBT novel?
 
The first published one, though I’ve always tried to be inclusive of LGBT characters in my other novels. Renovation is the first novel where my main character is overtly LGBT. My personal head canon is that Sylvie Shadows is bisexual, but that never really played a part in the books. And, at its core, Maledicte has a lot to do with gender identity—a woman who reinvents her identity to be a man.
 
What drew you to this genre?
 
There’s a flippant answer, and a more serious answer.
 
Flippant? Due South fanfiction. Stargate Atlantis fanfiction. Especially anything by Speranza. 
 
More seriously, I just love romance novels. I’ve read historicals, regencies, contemporaries, the Harlequins, and so forth. Humorous or angsty. I read them. But the problem with devouring an entire genre is that you get sensitized to the tropes and the clichés. You start wanting variations just to freshen them up, to bring you back to your original love of the genre. So, primed by fanfiction and the joys of the internet where it’s easy to get your hands on diverse books, I started reading the M/M genre. One of the first books I ran into was Ginn Hale’s Wicked Gentlemen. That book was all things delightful, so obviously I was going to be rewarded for this genre. The second book I ran into was Josh Lanyon’s Fair Game. Both of them made me want to write in this genre.
 
What did you enjoy most when writing this novel?
 
Getting to build an entire neighborhood of entertaining characters. I’m a sucker for stories where the hero gets to build his own “found family” and Renovation is really the first novel I’ve written where that gets to play a major part in the plot.
 
Would you renovate or move?
 
Renovate. I have big plans for my itty bitty house. Big plans. 
 
On the other hand, if someone offered to sell me a picture postcard cottage by the sea for a scandalously low price, I’d be calling the moving vans immediately. 
 
Are unicorns friendly or angry creatures?
 
Horses kind of scare me—So large! So unpredictable! So inclined to declare war on me and toss me from their backs, bite my hair, or run me into trees!—so I’m going to assume unicorns are beautiful but angry, and I should admire them from very far afar.
 
And finally, what is your go-to food: pizza or chocolate?

 
I’d say coffee, but I suppose that doesn’t actually have nutritional value, so… chocolate. Which you can put in coffee. :-)

 

When Blind Eye Books Authors Play Elsewhere: Josh Lanyon

New this spring!
Two short stories:
And the upcoming mystery/thriller Winter Kill (June 1st, 2015, available for pre-order at: Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and Smashwords).
 
                    
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