Monday, January 18, 2010

Laura Tolomei's Tiki Hut Winner

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to talk with Laura about her books and the subject of soul mates.

Congrats to Lainey!!! You win a free download of your choice of Laura's TO SEDUCE A SOULMATE or DIVINITAS. Please contact AuthorIsland at with your email address and which ebook you'd like to have so Laura can get you out your prize!

Monday, January 11, 2010

This Week At The Tiki Hut - Laura Tolomei

This week's special guest is eXtasy Books author, Laura Tolomei who stops by to talk about the journey through space and time of souls and soulmates.

Souls and soul mates: analysis of a journey through lives, times and space
by Laura Tolomei

My latest release is titled To Seduce A Soulmate, but it’s not the first time I wrote about soul’s journeys or soul mates for that matter. True, the subject fascinates me. Must be those travels in India or my personal beliefs life isn’t a one shot deal. Repetition makes perfect, that’s why souls need more than one journey to get it right…so to speak. The fact is we have so many lessons to learn on our way to true knowledge and awareness, it seems impossible to do it all at once.

These personal beliefs have the bad habit of slipping inside my books and leaving a common thread particularly in my dialogue. But let me start at the beginning.

The first published novel that talks about such issues is Divinitas, released about a year ago, Jan. 1st to be precise. Just to refresh your memory, Divinitas is about two souls chasing one other through several lifetimes in search of a balance. Predictably, the journeys are neither smooth nor easy, at least the ones presented in three stories that make up the novel, one set in Ancient Egypt, the other during the Persian Empire and the third in Celtic Britain.

Divinitas – PG excerpt

“How did you find your way?” Us-Yri asked at last.

“I will tell you my own personal point of view, but don't take any of this as Truth. Unfortunately, in this world we can never understand completely because a veil covers our eyes.” He paused briefly before continuing. “I believe the gods give us three tools to travel the path of Life—Body, Mind and Soul. Only the Soul will live on forever, but like a bird we desperately want to keep with us, the Body locks it in a cage. These limitations are more than enough to make us lose the right way. The Soul holds the key to our life, the past, the present and all the future lives as well—“

“You really believe we have more than one life?”

“Of course, Us-Yri. There are just too many things to learn in one single lifetime alone. We need time to grow, develop, learn about the world and mostly ourselves. Piecing together this information will set our Soul free. But Body and Mind work against it, so we can seldom collect all the right pieces and connect them in just one lifetime.”

“But how many do we need to reach—“

“Awareness?” Heru-Ur shrugged. “Each Soul will take its own time, Us-Yri. There are no fixed rules. Of course, if the Body and Mind’s limitations are strong, a Soul could take forever before it grasps the Truth.”

Now supposing the above to be true, would you want to go through several journeys alone? Or wouldn’t you rather have someone who understands you because you share a bond older than life itself?

Divinitas – PG excerpt

Shaun grinned. It had taken a long training to remind Halifax who he was and now that it was finally time to explain, it felt odd, maybe because their positions seemed reversed if compared to previous lives. Shifting through past scenarios, Shaun briefly analyzed their timeless relationship, searching for answers. Somehow, Halifax had always been the seducer rather than the seduced. Reversing their roles was a necessary shift, the Druid knew it far too well, but he still had to get used to it.

“Please,” the blond missionary begged, “tell me about it.”

Where to begin? From the ancient walls of Egypt or the Persian prince’s golden bed? From our love…or the betrayal that followed? Shaun wondered as images kept playing in the fire.

Us-Yri and Set, Mitra and Varuna, Shaun and Halifax…that in Divinitas the characters change names and shapes makes little difference. They remain essentially the same souls that grow in awareness also thanks to their special relationship…if and when they have one. The problem of recognition is no small one, considering a soul has no face, no tangible trace to jog one’s memory. And in modern times, Martin has none of the Druid’s or Ancient Egyptian’s mystical knowledge to convince Pirate Drake he’s his soul mate. Martin’s only resource is in the words, which must be very powerful if he wants To Seduce A Soulmate.

To Seduce A Soulmate – PG excerpt

Martin was about to reply when the waitress brought their platters. He pulled back to give her room, then leaned forward again. “Listen, I’m not asking you to believe in it, but don’t tell me you didn’t feel it because I read it in your eyes, too.”

“Read what?” Drake asked, suddenly feeling very cold.

“The flicker of recognition. When our eyes met, you knew who I was just as surely as I knew who you were.”

“That’s impossible, Devil,” he argued, biting his cheeseburger. “We’ve never met before in our lives.”

“You wouldn’t believe how many unexplainable things defy rationality, Pirate. When I lived in India, I saw more than my share of them.”

“They’re all visionaries over there.”

“I beg to differ, Pirate. They have an age-old tradition, a mix between magic, religion, logic and belief in the unknown. To them, the soul is something alive even when the body dies, with a million journeys behind it and a thousand more ahead, which shape it and mark its path in each successive passage.” He paused to eat a french fry. “And it’s not just an individual affair. I believe there are souls that start out together, soul mates some call them, which inevitably call for each other because alone they’re incomplete. So they go through life seeking their missing half, the essential piece that will restore them to the unity they had started out with.”

“And you think I am—“

“I don’t think, Pirate, I know.” Spoken without any emphasis, the words rang even more forceful despite Drake’s thundering heartbeat clogging his ears. “I’ve been waiting a lifetime to read what I did in your eyes and your reaction was exactly as I’d imagined it a million times in my head. That’s why I behaved like I did that first night.”

“I don’t believe this, Devil.”

“That’s your choice, Pirate. I can’t and certainly won’t force you to believe in this. When you ran away that night at your parent’s house, it became quite obvious that you weren’t ready to accept the truth anyway.”

“What truth?”

The Irish devil stretched across the table. “Just answer me honestly, Pirate. Before you met me, have you ever felt you recognized a complete stranger before in your life? Or felt an electrical current run through your body merely by standing next to someone? Or felt your heart beat so fast you feared it might fall out of your chest?”

With a heavy heart, the pirate realized there was no point in lying so he had to shake his head in denial, long hair flying around.

“But you did the moment you saw me, right?”

AUTHOR: Laura Tolomei
GENRE: Gay, M/M, Lesbian, Menage, Paranormal, Deities, Historical, Dark Fantasy god, gods
ISBN: 978-1-55487-215-2
RELEASEE DATE*: January 1st, 2009
PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books

To Seduce A Soulmate
AUTHOR Laura Tolomei
GENRE: Gay, Holiday, Contemporary, m/f, m/m, m/m/f
ISBN 978-1-55487-440-8
RELEASE DATE: December 1st, 2009
PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books

WIN - Leave a message or comment for Laura this week at the Tiki Hut and your name goes in the hat for a free download of your choice of TO SEDUCE A SOULMATE or DIVINITAS. Good Luck!

Monday, January 4, 2010

This Week At The Tiki Hut - Jennifer Linforth

This week at the Tiki Hut is author Jennifer Linforth who talks about why she tackled Leroux's Phantom of the Opera in her historical series published by Highland Press.

If one is going to query a publisher, Jennifer Linforth suggests not doing so in pink ink. Her first, written when she was twelve, was nothing if not colorful. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Romance Writers of America in addition to being a writing mentor. Writing historical fiction and historical romance with unusual themes and locations, such as autism and the social mores of the mentally ill in the 19th century, she has a passion for Austrian culture and is often found searching for stories in long forgotten histories.

It was her love of research and classic literature that brought her to expanding Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera.

Writing from a tiny loft office, Jennifer admits to being country mouse with city mouse tastes and is constantly fighting to keep the little critters in line. She can't pronounce pistachio, hates lollipops with gooey centers, and dearly loves to laugh. If asked for her motto in life, she points to the following poem upon her office wall:

Come to the edge. We might fall. Come to the edge. It's too high! COME TO THE EDGE! And they came, and he pushed, and they flew. ~ Christopher Logue Croyez.

Visit Jennifer's Website *** Blog *** Myspace *** Facebook *** Twitter


Everyone wants to undress Mr. Darcy in one way or another. Whether literally, or by expanding his story, readers yearn to dive deeper between his sheets. So why then did I choose to do so to a Phantom?

The Phantom of the Opera has one of the largest and most devoted fan followings in the world. Choosing to expand such a classic came with an impending sense of doom. Would this idea be embraced like the countless tales of Pemberly after the nuptials? Or would I be tarred and feathered…

I had to find out. The result was a three book series contracted by Highland Press Publishing, and one which has, thus far, left this author thankfully featherless.

Certain stories transcend time leaving more questions than answers. No author made me question as much as Gaston Leroux. My love for The Phantom of the Opera stemmed from a deep respect for a book that was a mystery, horror and romance rolled into one. After revisiting Leroux’s novel for the third time the questions in my head would not fade. Why—as a jurist—did he leave so many unanswered questions in such a fascinating book?

The only way to find out was to devote years of my imagination to living deep below an opera house with a corpse-like madman.

The first challenge? Breaking down the visions created by Andrew Lloyd Webber. His musical and 2004 movie starring Gerald Butler created an iconic image of The Phantom and the story as a whole. Leroux’s original is quite different from the romantic, famous love triangle of Webber’s that millions of fans saw and fell in love with. In Webber’s film and musical we see a mildly deformed man clearly oozing sex appeal who happens to have murdered out of anger. Webber stripped away the unattainable parts of Leroux’s story to leave a basic romance as the focus. In Leroux, Erik (The Phantom), was a murderously vengeful personality… a clear madman, while concurrently being a repressed and ardent gentleman. He was the central character in a Death and the Maiden tale. Hideously deformed and hiding behind a full black mask, he slept in a coffin. He had issues with maternal longings just as Christine had issues with paternal needs. Leroux penned him as a monster for a reason. I did my best to adhere to his original ideas for my series while maintaining there was indeed a man with in the madman. Naturally, certain elements were changed to suit the limits of my imagination and to reach the broader market desired by my publisher.

The second challenge? Weaving enough of Leroux’s original story into the fabric of the series so readers could enjoy it without needing to read Leroux’s book first. Book one in my series, MADRIGAL, (released October 2008) begins four years after Leroux’s original ended.

Despite all of the above, Erik was a simply seeking the most basic of human emotions--love. Yet how can one when love society sees you as nothing more than a deviant of the underground?

You fake your death and start anew…

Sharing the back cover blurb for MADRIGAL:
Years ago he faked his death and vowed the Phantom would never again haunt the Opera Garnier. But strange packages left by Anna, an unwanted Samaritan turned unlikely friend, causes Erik to desire the unattainable—love.

When Anna’s haunted past puts Christine DaaĆ© in danger, Erik is falsely accused of the vicious crime. The Phantom is reborn as Erik, forced to the brink of insanity, revisits his passion for Christine—the woman he once swore to possess. Fighting the injustice against Erik, Anna struggles to prove his innocence. Standing in the way is her past that cannot be transcended, and years of prejudice labeling Erik more monster than man.

Battling the nobleman determined to lock him away, Erik must save Christine, control his demons, and tame a heart unexpectedly beating for two opposite women. Christine, who he longs to love, and Anna: the woman who saw beyond his bitter soul to the man beneath the mask.

In the midst of a brutal manhunt, can he be loved for himself or is he condemned to be The Phantom of the Opera?

Murderer, Maestro, Magician, Mastermind.

ABENDLIED, book two of The Madrigals releases January 2010 and continues to expose more of Erik and the manhunt to bring him to justice. ABENDLIED can be read prior to MADRIGAL even though it continues the first book. It follows all characters as they endure the manhunt and introduces an often forgotten part of Leroux’s plot:

Desiring normalcy is difficult enough with a price on his head, but when Erik is falsely accused of killing Philippe de Chagny, brother of his nemesis Raoul, he is launched toward madness.

Anna is an unlikely companion, sharing Erik's heart and the bounty on his head. As the manhunt heats, Erik's mysterious relationship with Philippe spurs the campaign against them forward, and exposes her darkest secret: defending her honor ended in murder.

Plagued by his past as The Phantom of the Opera, Erik's memories enslave his heart to Raoul’s wife Christine, whose shocking confession brings a ruthless bounty hunter into the fray and blackmail to the Chagny bloodline. Blackmail from a hunter who cares little about the Phantom or Philippe, and everything about the one he has lusted for: Anna.

With the past weeping like an open wound, can love endure or will it take memories of one unlikely man to heal them all?

Memories of Philippe Georges Marie, Comte de Chagny...

Philippe de Chagny was a vital secondary character in Leroux’s original story and my favorite of all classic literature. It was his story that sparked the creation of this series. A series I hope readers will continue to embrace long after I put down my quill. For those who are more adventurous, once I am done writing stories that expand classic literature I can loan them some feathers… I leave it to them to find the tar!