Theft Between the Rains

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Luba Lesychyn and her international art theft mystery novel, Theft Between the Rains.

Author’s description

What would you do if you worked at a reputable international museum and art works listed as still missing since WWII began showing up on your doorstep?

 

That’s the substance of the newest urban art theft thriller Theft Between the Rains by Luba Lesychyn.

 

Drawing on her more than 20 years at Canada’s largest museum, Luba reintroduces many of the affable and quirky characters from the prequel, Theft By Chocolate. Also resurrected is the malicious art thief who has been on the world’s most wanted criminal list for decades.

 

Theft Between the Rains takes readers behind the scenes at museums and to parts unknown of Toronto. And with water being a character unto its own, Luba uses both humor and thriller elements to weave a page-turning story while simultaneously illustrating how changing weather patterns and flash flooding are impacting metropolitan centers globally.

Making Storms into a Character

I have a background in geophysics, so when I heard that part of this story involves changing weather patterns, I was quite curious about how and why Luba Lesychyn included the weather in a story about art theft.

Here is her fascinating response:

I have been living in Toronto for over 30 years and in the last decade, we have been witnessing an alarming increase in the number and intensity of flash storms that have resulted in flooding as we’ve never seen before. Viewing news footage with cars floating down main thoroughfares in Canada’s largest city is a very recent phenomenon, and a very frightening one.
Some years ago, I saw a documentary called Lost Rivers, a good portion of which is set in Toronto, and it addresses how cities have undergrounded their urban rivers and streams and use them as part of their sewage systems. This strategy may have been effective a century or two ago, but cities have become concrete jungles and water from these increasing number of intense downpours has nowhere to drain.
I’m becoming much more of an activist the older I get, and when I watched the documentary, I was reminded that Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum, in which both my books are set and where I worked for more than 20 years, is situated above one of these undergrounded streams. I was inspired to craft a story around these buried waterways and to use water and weather as primary motifs in the book and bring to light the fact that we need to act urgently to restore these natural systems to their daylighted glory as part of our climate change management. This kind of increased urban flooding is not just a problem in Toronto. We’ve been seeing this occurrence in metropolitan cities across North America and around the world.
I realized that in my book, I could bring attention to this phenomenon and, at the same time, use weather and storms to drive my plot and employ mother nature to create drama, conflict, and crisis throughout the novel. What wasn’t clear to me at first was how I was going to weave it all into an art theft story using the characters I had created in my first book, Theft By Chocolate.
But idea after idea was sparked and it resulted in a unique tale that I hope readers will find entertaining, informative, and thought-provoking. Perhaps people will recognize the same issues in their own cities and be moved to lobby for more urgent environmental remediations and assess the value of daylighting undergrounded rivers. Embedding this kind of subtle messaging in my books and genre is another way to reach people and perhaps make them more aware that we need to act in ways that will benefit generations to come.

About the Author

Luba Lesychyn is a popular Toronto-based mystery writer, a graduate of the Humber School for Writers, and a respected author in the library readings and events circuit.

In her two books, she draws from her more than 20 years of work experiences at the Royal Ontario Museum (Canada’s largest museum), and her time working for a private museum consulting firm to write humorous, international art theft thrillers featuring amateur sleuth Kalena Boyko. Her newest book, Theft Between the Rains, is a sequel to Theft By Chocolate (about a woman looking for chocolate, love and an international art thief in all the wrong places) published in 2012 by Attica Books and launched in Canada and the UK.

Luba currently spends her time writing and virtually touring Theft Between the Rains in which lead character Kalena Boyko returns to find herself pulled into international art theft intrigue when masterpieces missing since WWII start appearing on her doorstep.

Find the Author

Website: https://lubalesychyn.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Luba-Lesychyn-Author-180423355396109
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6094572.Luba_Lesychyn
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lesychyn/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/lubalesychyn/_created/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LubaLesychyn

Buy the Book

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Luba-Lesychyn/e/B00G9EPC8G
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/search?query=luba+lesychyn

Yes, there is a giveaway

Luba Lesychyn will be awarding a print copy of Theft Between the Rains to a randomly drawn winner (US or Canada ONLY) via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

The establishment’s boutique served as a retail antechamber to the dining area, and it would take every single molecule of self-control to bypass the exquisite jewelry-case-like displays that were making all of my senses dance. Rather than gems, however, the delicate glass cabinets were appointed with rows of truffle delicacies infused with Bombay chai and Tahitian vanilla, Seville orange and sweet curry.

The chocolaty delights sported deliciously creative names like Thai Me Up, Curry in a Hurry, Hot Mess, and Belle du Jour. From there my eyes wandered to wall displays strategically populated with pastel-hued macarons flavored with lavender and cassis, figs and red wine, passion fruit and pistachios. The white floors and walls formed a perfect backdrop highlighting the vibrant wares. I dug in my heels and cantered forward like a horse with blinders on.

Thank you!

Luba Lesychyn — we appreciate your sharing your book Theft Between the Rains with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Murder with Strings Attached

Today it is my pleasure to welcome Mark Reutlinger and his crime caper novel, Murder with Strings Attached.

Author’s description

Sometimes even the most carefully conceived burglary can take an unexpected turn. Florence Palmer has her eye on concert violinist Aaron Levy’s priceless violin. Unfortunately, she finds it’s already been stolen. Her surprise doubles when the virtuoso she’d planned to burgle offers to hire her to help him steal it back. But they’re not the only ones looking for the missing violin. When Flo inadvertently becomes the prime suspect in a case of murder, she and Aaron need to clear her name. Will they find the real killer and get the violin back to its rightful owner without anyone else, especially themselves, being killed?

About the Author

MARK REUTLINGER is an attorney and former law professor. He now writes novels in which the law is frequently broken, including his “Mrs. Kaplan” cozy mystery series (MRS. KAPLAN AND THE MATZOH BALL OF DEATH and A PAIN IN THE TUCHIS) and the political thrillers MADE IN CHINA and SISTER-IN-LAW: VIOLATION, SEDUCTION, AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (under the pen name M. R. Morgan). MURDER WITH STRINGS ATTACHED is his latest novel. He is also a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.

Mark and his wife Analee live in University Place, Washington, where in addition to reading and writing he plays clarinet with the Tacoma Concert Band and enjoys tennis, biking, exotic cars, model railroading, and various arts and crafts. He has no idea where he finds the time for it all.

Find the Author

Visit Mark at MarkReutlinger.com and MRMorganAuthor.com.
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/markreutlinger
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1192934.Mark_Reutlinger

Buy the Book

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Strings-Attached-Mark-Reutlinger/dp/1509233210
Barnes &Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/murder-with-strings-attached-mark-reutlinger/1138134761

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

I was going to use my “one phone call” (assuming a person really gets one and that’s not just something they say in the movies) to call Aaron, but I didn’t have to bother. Almost as soon as I arrived at the police station, Aaron, who obviously had been watching developments and following the police car I was in, walked in and inquired how I might be released. Given the relatively minor nature of the charge, despite what they might actually suspect, and my clean record, despite all the burglaries they were thankfully unaware of, bail was set according to a standard schedule rather than my having to wait to see a judge the next day.

I don’t know how much it cost Aaron to bail me out, but of course whatever it was, he could well afford it; and besides, he owed it to me. After all, I was really just his employee, and surely posting bail is a standard employee benefit.

When all the necessary papers had been signed and funds transferred, Aaron and I walked out into the sunshine that I’d been afraid I wouldn’t be seeing for quite a while.

On the way to Aaron’s car, I gave him a hug and a little kiss on the cheek and thanked him for extricating me from the pokey and doing it so quickly. He looked a bit embarrassed by that, but he cleared his throat and said in his best businesslike manner:

“Okay, so why’d you shoot him, and where’d you put the violin?”

Thank you!

Mark Reutlinger — we appreciate your sharing your book Murder with Strings Attached with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

The Calling

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Branwen OShea and her YA Sci-fi novel, The Calling.

Author’s description

Humanity’s wake-up call. Answer it or face extinction.

 

When Bleu’s little sister shows symptoms of the deadly Sickness, a strange vision directs him to leave humanity’s subterranean haven and seek the cure on Earth’s glacial surface. Joining the expedition team, Bleu expects extreme temperatures, not a surface ruled by ingenious predators.

 

Rana and her fellow star beings have co-existed with Earth’s top carnivores since the humans disappeared. But when her peers transform into Crowned Ones, the final stage of star being development, she fears remaining Uncrowned like her parents. To prove her worth, she undertakes a dangerous mission—contacting the hostile and nearly extinct humans.

 

But Rana’s plan backfires, and Bleu’s team retaliates. As war with the more advanced star being civilization looms, both Rana and Bleu separately seek a way to save their people.

About the Author

As a young girl, Branwen wanted to become an ambassador for aliens. Since the aliens never hired her, she now writes about them.

Branwen OShea has a Bachelors in Biology from Colgate University, a Bachelors in Psychology, and a Masters in Social Work. She lives in Connecticut with her family and a menagerie of pets, and enjoys hiking, meditating, and star-gazing. Her previously published works include contributing to a nonfiction yoga book, wellness magazines, and her published science fiction novella, Silence of the Song Trees.

When I discovered I’d be featuring a book of OShea’s and would get to ask her any question, I looked up her biography on Amazon, too, and learned that she is a licensed counselor, a yoga teacher, and a sound healer. She says she writes books with stardust and magic. (What a lovely phrase.) So I asked her which of  the many traditions she has studied contributed the most to the “stardust and magic” in The Calling.

Here is her intriguing answer.

I’ve always been fascinated with different belief systems and have read and studied various religious and spiritual traditions since I was about ten years old. For me, every tradition holds great truths, but no tradition by itself fully meshes with my values of compassion, nonviolence, love, truth, and valuing nature. Each of my books explores slightly different beliefs.
The Calling kicks off a series that encompasses three different species, each with their own cultures and beliefs. The humans in my series are mostly scientific thinkers and driven by a sense that the Earth betrayed them by plummeting into an ice age. Most of the humans only trust science. However, Bleu and his family are secretively highly intuitive. I based their experiences on intuitive experiences that I’ve had since childhood. I didn’t give them a specific philosophy, because they had nowhere to research one other than their own shared experiences.
The star being culture and spirituality is possibly a combination of Indian and Yogic philosophy merged with indigenous beliefs and Christian mysticism. I say “probably” because much in this book was told to me in a series of meditations/dreams from the character Rana, a star being. So, you could either assume that my subconscious combined the above, or that it’s a psychic experience and Rana is something else other than a creation of my subconsciousness. The story works either way.
The third species doesn’t appear until the end of the second book, The Chasm, which is coming out in January 2022. Their culture and beliefs could be seen as a combination of shamanism, Islamic beliefs about jinn, and myths of the Fae. That said, their culture, beliefs, and story also came to me in meditations. Like myself, my books contain influences from many cultures and times. The overarching theme of the series challenges humans to reconsider their perceived limitations and separation from other species.

Find the Author

Website: http://www.branwenoshea.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/branwenoshea
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/branwenoshea
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/branwenoshea

Buy the Book

Order Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1735915998

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

“All right, get out, men.” Savas had never experienced such peace on the last mission. This was truly pleasant. They climbed out of the rover, and he tripped on his own feet as if drunk.

Laughing at himself, he reminded the others, “Guns out. Stamf, take the lead. I’ll bring up the rear.”

He paused, swaying a bit, while the other two men passed him and then proceeded slowly down the left branch. Sparkling light from farther down the tunnel lit their way. With a quick glance back toward the entrance, he took up the rear.

Then a voice as ethereal as the wind sang, “Caaaaaahm heeeeeeeere…caaaaaaaaaahm heeeeeeeere…”

What the hell?

Savas shook his head, blinked, and tapped his ear communicator. Stamf and Abdul, farther ahead, had frozen and appeared confused, swaying in place.

Something was terribly wrong. Was this cave filled with noxious fumes? Had they all gotten cold sickness? The databases talked of arctic workers becoming weak and confused by the extreme temperatures.

Think! Think. Savas wanted to lie down and nap. What’s wrong with me? Images from his childhood tumbled through his head. Not now. Not again. I control my own mind.

“Caaaaaaaaahm heeeeeeeeere,” the voice lulled, endlessly peaceful.

They all mindlessly continued forward, as if in a dream. A small part of Savas’ brain screamed in warning. I. Control. My. Own. Mind. He grunted with the effort. Fighting the urge to relax, Savas forced his hands to raise his weapon.

Thank you!

Branwen OShea — we appreciate your sharing your book The Calling with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.