"One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by..."
Continuing with my quest for great #SummerReads, this month I'm excited to feature #Writer A.C. 'Drew' Merkel! He is the author of the Lady Dreamscapes, time traveling/sci-fi series. These imaginative tales feature a MC by the name of 'Murder'...and what an exciting, literary journey she will take you on! Without further adieu, let's chat with Drew:
Q1. I really enjoyed the first book in your Lady Dreamscapes series, Her Name is Murder, so very exciting and intriguing! What was the inspiration for this series?
Long story or short? I had already written a few shorter things as practice, and was planning to try National Novel Writing Month. (NaNoWriMo) I had a ‘space opera’ story in mind. On the fifth of October 2019 a VSS (very short story) prompt on twitter caught my eye. The word was Murder. The tweet I wrote. (And never posted) was about a woman. Murder “Ashley” LaVoe who was tired of running. She sort of just appeared to me, a vivid image of a beautiful redhead who was more than what she seemed.
I had to know more and soon she began appearing in VSS stories. Levi appeared in an early tweet and Giselle followed shortly after. I had some intriguing characters, and by November 1st, Lady Dreamscapes was ready to jump onto the page. 21 days later I had a 46,000 word story and a small book of song lyrics. The lyrics are awful, but some of the song titles found their way into the concert Sequence in the sequel: ‘London Calling.’
Q2. The time traveling aspect was an unexpected twist--especially with the weaving in of historical events/locations to present day situations for the characters. How do you research/select the different historical elements to add to your stories?
I tend to start with events I have ideas of already. Things I have read about or seen on TV and am already fascinated with. Tudors are a big deal around my house. We are a “Tudor Tragic” household.
A little ‘extra credit’ was my “Murder on the Orient Express” flashback. Grant and Murder got on an overnight train, and the word play was too good to pass up. It came after the initial draft. I spent several days researching the route of the express and how I could plant a version of Agatha Christie herself into the short vignette. Rose oil from Bulgaria was the perfect lure and trap for my own very special Tudor Rose, Miss Murder LaVoe. It also helped fill in some space between Murder’s origin and the modern part of the story.
Q3. You're a great supporter of the #WritingCommunity--besides writing your tales, do you provide other services to support authors that you'd like to highlight?
I am a founder of Queerindie.com where we have a directory of both queer and ally books. A celebration of unity. I am very honored and proud to get to be a part of that.
I also bring book covers to life under the business name “Gif Wizard.” See acmerkel.com/gifwizard for some samples of my work!
Q4. Congratulations on your latest release, Downtown: Starring Anne Boleyn! Are you planning more books in the series or writing something new? Enquiring minds want to know!
I have a short story related to the series releasing on June 11th, titled “Unchanging.” This will be available for the kindle through Amazon, but also free for download on my website. acmerkel.com/unchanging
I hope to be writing about Murder in some form or another when I find the answer to her own biggest question. “Is there an afterlife?” In other words, unless something unexpected happens, I plan to keep the series around until there’s no stories left to tell. And with the turn taken in the sequel ‘London Calling’ the story has even more places it can go! Which everyone will see come June 11th.
I also have the standalone “witches who love witches” lesbian paranormal romance:
“WITCH vs. WIT☽H.” Which (pun intended), is set in Birmingham Alabama where I commute to for work every week day. It’s a little more action and a lot less history than my series but still with the ‘love conquers all’ mentality I think my readers appreciate. The book is also a little slice of southern life that I feel adds some charm to the tale.
I hope to work more standalone tales in. But Lady Dreamscapes is my main focus.
Drew, thank you so much for stopping by and letting us get to 'meet' you! I'm very much looking forward to #reading the books in your series! If you'd like to connect with Drew, his links can be found here:
So, in between writing my #Holiday mysteries with Rikkhe St. Claire, I've been dabbling with creating new ad material for My American Almost Royal Cousin books to pique the interest of the #summer readers. This go round I've been concentrating on the actor/film making aspects of the series (I've had it on good authority that it might be a prudent idea to tone down the 'royal' aspects of the books amidst the current, never-ending, ahem, crown-spinning turmoil😳🙄).
I went back to the question that started it all for me...Would you let a period drama series be filmed at your estate? I must admit, I'm having just a bit of 'royal' withdrawal, but am finding I'm kind of loving the new focus! It's been a challenge coming up with a cozy mystery, elegant living, romance, actor, film-making branding theme in a single gif (whew!), but I think I'm getting there. Skulls, castles, heels, cameras, hearts (and yes, one teeny-tiny crown) and even a bust of dear Auntie Pippa...what say you?
Scandal, mystery and romance this week from the writers of Twitter...
Author Kelly Miller, Accusing Mr. Darcy, A Pride and Prejudice Variation, 5⭐
A July holiday at the estate of Rose and Nicholas Kendall bring Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy face to face once again. The Kendall's have romantic intentions on their minds, hoping to find a perfect match for cousin, Elizabeth and good friend, Darcy. As the guests arrive, the list of potential suitors for both are met with curiosity and pleasantries. Will the arrival of the dashing Captain James Kendall hinder the budding friendship between Elizabeth and Darcy?
During early, morning walks together, we soon see that Darcy and Elizabeth may have more in common than they thought. An awkward exchange leads to frustration and a refusal to a proposal, with the two stomping off, mired in irritation. Danger lurks for one of them--a killer is on the loose, determined to unleash his evil obsessions for a deadly end. Will it be too late for Darcy and Elizabeth to unravel their misgivings and allow their attraction to take hold?
Author Miller once again delivers a page turning mystery filled with romantic twists and turns between the two beloved, literary characters. This variation brings a fresh perspective to the sometimes stormy encounters of Elizabeth and Darcy and gives readers new insights into their budding relationship. I've now had the pleasure to enjoy three of Author Miller's Pride and Prejudice Variation tales, and I can't wait to return to Pemberley. A delightful read, highly recommended!
Next up in the #reading queue:
We're on Summer Break But...
We have fifty shows featuring interviews with authors, book reviews, marketing tips, writing updates...if you've missed our shows, now's a perfect time to catch up! A perfect place to learn about some great #SummerReads--see you soon!
Crowns and Kisses,
P.S. Calling all #Mystery #Writers and #Readers, the 2021 Bouchercon Mystery Conference is coming up the end of August. Bibiana, Amy and I will be there in beautiful NOLA--how about you? A perfect time to gather and talk all things Blood on the Bayou! Gemma and Rikkhe approve💖👑