Friday, July 18, 2014

INTERVIEW: Lou Sylvre plus #Giveaway!

Hello Lou and welcome to The Hat Party <3 Thank you so much for subjecting yourself to the RANDOMNESS that is a Raine O'Tierney interview! Please don your best hat, and let's get started!

Hi, Raine! I haven’t been to a hat party in forever! Thanks for inviting me.

What is your super-secret, wildest, most outlandish writing dream?

Um... Interesting question!I guess I could say that I would love to sell 100,000 copies of something—I mean, who wouldn’t? But really, my favorite writing dream is to do what I’m doing—writing what I love and having it touch people—but perhaps have my career continue to develop so that I can earn a decent living at it, enough to eat and pay my bills!

Tell us about a time someone did you a great kindness.

The most wonderful kindness I can remember at the moment happened when I was seventeen. I’d had an ill-fated cross-country journey via hitch-hike, with one other person, from Long Beach, California to Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and then to St. Joseph, Missouri. In St. Joseph, the person I was with turned dangerously violent and threatened my life. I was forced to leave barefoot, in a T-shirt and jeans, with 86 pennies, my ID, and a comb. The hitch-hike home to California tended toward the scary side, and by the time I made it to Compton, California I was fatigued and sick and pretty traumatized. It was about 4:00 AM, and a man driving a garbage truck stopped and asked me if I was okay, if I needed a ride. He took me way off his route and delivered me to the front door of the house that was the closest thing I had to a home at the time, in North Long Beach. I think he might have saved my life that day, or at the very least he restored my faith that most people are good, are more than they appear.

If someone challenged you to a water-gun fight *to the death* how would you fare?

If I had a chance to borrow my daughter’s arsenal (she has three sons and a husband and must defend herself), I would surely outgun them in minutes. Otherwise, I’m pretty good at ducking and dodging. I might win on strategy. Of course I’d never lose. J

What important thing would you give up in order to continue writing?


Do you have any special library memories?

My favorite library ever was the one at Lindbergh Junior High. I remember going in there after school, the sun coming in through the high windows, the numerous little card catalogue drawers, the old, rectangular wooden tables and heavy chairs, and the poor librarian, plagued by me. I kept asking her for books about horses, and she kept coming up with them until finally one day she said, “You’ve read them all.” My favorite among them was one called, La Bruja. Horse books done, I started scanning the shelves for fiction. I read Ramona, Les Miserables, and everything from ‘girl detective’ books to sci-fi to books about ice-skaters, and dancers, and poor girls in 18th century Holland. That whole place is a special memory to me—it was a refuge!. 

You have 200 words—Make. Me. Swoon. (PLEASE!)

Um, I hope an excerpt is okay? I’ve decided romantic rather than graphic for the swoon factor, but this little excerpt comes right after a long, hot, explicit scene. Luki and Sonny’s 10th Anniversary:

Excerpt from Because of Jade

And then Sonny woke up, just a flutter of the eyelids, and then big brown eyes wide open, looking right into Luki’s soul.

“Let me take you to bed, now, baby,” Luki said and then stepped over to help Sonny up. Sonny smiled, and that would have been payment enough for everything. But there was more Sonny to be had, no need even to ask. So he took his husband to bed and made love with him while late summer stars shone through the skylight, a cosmic comment on their joint beauty and heat. Sonny got hard again in minutes, and Luki touched and kissed and coaxed and finally fucked him—as Sonny had asked, begged, demanded. When Luki finally collapsed into orgasm, he gave himself over to it and into his husband’s care without reservation.

“Oh, God,” Sonny said when the waves had ebbed. “Luki, you’re mine. Hard to believe, but I think it’s true.”

Luki felt too blissed out to answer but smiled against Sonny’s armpit—which made Sonny giggle—and nodded his head. And though the arrangement was exactly the opposite of standard Vasquez and James, Luki fell asleep against Sonny’s smooth chest while Sonny held him tight, barely hearing Sonny’s good night.


Give a shout-out to another author who may, or may not, know how much you appreciate them.

There are so many! But fresh in my mind today is Suki Fleet, author of This is Not a Love Story, one of the greatest, most honest love stories I’ve ever read. It wasn’t easy to read, but as a person who (much earlier in life and in a different time and place) had experienced firsthand much of the subject matter, the author’s ability to tap into the constant emotional war waged inside her MC, a homeless teen, and to depict it so lovingly without whitewash seemed a gift to me. And I will forever be grateful to her for the ending.

What was the trigger that made you first get really serious about publishing?

I would have gotten serious about publishing sooner if I had not had it so thoroughly inculcated in me that (1) authors are not everyday people, and (2) the best I could hope for was marriage, kids, and happy housework, or failing that a factory job. I finally got serious when I realized that was a load of detrimental, crippling crap, and then shortly thereafter something pushed my “why not?” button. Why shouldn’t I go for it? So I did.

When are you most happy?

(1) Sleeping. (2) Writing with a cup of Earl Grey wafting steam at my side. (3) With my grandsons. (All equally necessary to my happiness.)

And finally, for THE most important question of all: what kinds of dachshunds are the BEST kinds of dachshunds?

Umm... the long, low-slung kind? Actually, I like the ones that have long, silky coats, preferably tan and dark brown, not miniature. I admire the dogs that can truthfully kick a badger’s butt and yet be super friendly!

Thanks again for having me. (How do you like my hat?)

(Raine says: I love, love, LOVE it, Lou! <3)

~ ~ ~


What inspired you to write the Vasquez & James Series?

Vasquez and James, the characters, are what inspired me. They actually evolved out of secondary characters in a completely different kind of novel, where love stories would not work—but they insisted on having one in my mind. They changed quite a bit before they actually became Vasquez and James, but they never left me alone!

Is there anything special you’d like us to know about your books?

I don’t know if this is special, but perhaps I’d say this: although there is suspense in this series, the books are first and foremost one long love story, one I have striven to make special but real, with two believable, flawed but beautiful men. Although there is suspense and angst and contention and pain, there is also comfort and humor. Yes, humor, because in real life, honest, sometimes nonsensical, humor is the salve for all the rest, and it can always be counted on to help.

What are your hopes for these titles?

That they will continue to do exactly what they are doing, drawing people in to the lives of my characters, giving readers something both enjoyable and meaningful. I want them—the stories and the characters—to be loved, and I’m grateful to the many readers that have made it clear they do love them.

Vasquez and James Series

Professional badass Luki Vasquez and weaver Sonny James meet for the first time in Loving Luki Vasquez, and they might make a sizzling couple if they can ever get past the impulse to run the other way every time romance comes into view. Then again, they have to stay alive if they’re ever to see their wedding day, and tribulation, cruelty, and greed has a way of demanding attention at all the worst moments. Together, they pack a lot of resources to fight for love. If they can hold out, they just might win the enduring love and family they were meant to share.

Loving Luki Vasquez – (Vasquez and James Book One)

Reclusive weaver Sonny Bly James controls every color and shape in his tapestries, but he can’t control the pattern of his life—a random encounter with Luki Vasquez, ex-ATF agent and all-around badass, makes that perfectly clear. The mutual attraction is immediate, but love-shy Sonny has retreated from life, and Luki wears his visible and not-so-visible scars like armor. Neither can bare his soul with ease.

While they run from desire, they can’t hide from the evil that hunts them. After it becomes clear that a violent stalker has targeted Sonny, Luki’s protective instincts won’t let him run far, especially when Sonny’s family is targeted as well. Whether they can forgive or forget, Sonny and Luki will have to call a truce and work together to save Sonny’s nephew and fight an enemy intent on making sure loving Luki Vasquez is the last mistake Sonny will ever make.


Single Whip led into White Crane Spreads Its Wings, the name of which made Sonny adorably… all right fine, adorably happy. The sequence involved motions that at first felt counterintuitive. Like probably every student in the centuries tai chi had been around, Sonny needed help with it. As he would with any other student, Luki stood behind him, using his own hands to guide Sonny through the move. He wondered if he could get away with teaching him all the rest of the moves in just that way. Perhaps for hours. Every day. For a long time.

As he was teaching and wondering and probably even almost smiling, a wind rose up, splashing spray and sand and whipping Sonny’s long hair at Luki’s face and right into his mouth. On the word “open,” appropriately enough.

Sonny spun around, gathering up his luxurious baked-earth red hair. Before Luki had a chance to close his mouth, Sonny kissed him. A passionate, seeking sort of kiss. A kiss that Luki instinctively returned, though kissing wasn’t a large part of his intimate life, and especially not kissing on the beach.

As suddenly as he started it, Sonny ended it, leaving Luki bereft… frustrated and bereft.

Sonny turned away, refusing eye contact. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I shouldn’t have done that.” Without any further explanation, he stepped away.

Luki knew fear, could spot it from afar and pick it out in a crowded room. Right now, it ran hot through Sonny’s veins. He reached for Sonny’s arm. “Sonny, what….” What are you afraid of? He ended the question silently. Sonny had already gone.

Available from Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | All Romance eBooks

Delsyn’s Blues – (Vasquez and James Book Two)

Sonny James and Luki Vasquez are living proof that the course of love never runs smoothly. Ambushed by grief, Sonny listens to a voice singing the blues from beyond the grave. While revisiting the sorrows and failings of his past, in the here and now he puts up a wall against love. Just when Luki chips through that barricade, the couple becomes the target of a new threat from outside: an escalating and unexplainable rash of break-ins and assaults.

Thoughts of infidelity rise between them, a threat that may strain their newly mended love past its limits. To come through the trials alive and together, Luki and Sonny will have to unite against enemies who were once friends and overcome crippling hatred and overwhelming fear. If they succeed, maybe then they can rekindle the twin flames of passion and love.


As he wandered through his bare rooms, Luki traded the perfect, flawlessly tailored clothing he usually wore even at leisure and donned tattered jeans and a faded flannel shirt. Just what Sonny would have worn, and it helped keep Sonny alive in his mind, a man rather than a thin shade. He’d look a lot better than me wearing this, he told himself, padding over the hardwood floor to the only room in the house he ever smoked in, wondering on the way when the floor had become so cold. Once he got there, he switched on the silent fans and the omnidirectional heat, sank into the leather of the only easy chair in the house, and lit up. In his mind, he could hear Sonny clearly, as if his lover stood right next to him. Or sat by him on their love seat. Or sat on the floor at his knees making drawings for a tapestry he would weave so resplendent the world would probably weep. “You should quit,” he’d say.

Luki knew he should quit. Knew that cigarettes… cigarettes and hamburgers were the only flaws in his otherwise perfect health regime. Smoking would someday, probably soon, take a toll. Perversely, when he met Sonny he’d started smoking more than ever before, just because Sonny’s existence in the world nudged him off his solitary perch, the place where he seemingly rose above the world of emotion and let other men into his life only occasionally to practice his skills at cold but perfectly executed sex. With Sonny? Anything but cold. Although still close to perfect. He smiled at the memory of Sonny’s surprised looks when Luki showed him something new, something that, in all his gay years, he’d never felt.

“Luki, please,” he’d say.

Available from Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | All Romance eBooks

Finding Jackie – (Vasquez and James Book Three)

Luki Vasquez and Sonny Bly James finally have their Hawaiian wedding, and it's perfect, almost. But their three-phase honeymoon is riddled with strife. Luki's status as a working badass spells discord for the newlyweds. A former informant from Luki’s days with ATFE brings a troubling message (or is it a warning?) from a Mob hit man. When Luki’s sixteen-year-old nephew, Jackie, is lured into capture and torture by a sadistic killer, the honeymoon is well and truly over.

The couple put aside their differences and focus on the grueling hunt, which takes them from leather bars to dusty desert back roads, and calls on Sonny’s deep compassion as well as Luki’s sharpest skills. Their world threatens to fall apart if they fail, but their love may grow stronger than ever if they succeed in finding Jackie—before it’s too late.


“You know what, Titus? I don’t want to kill him.” Marcone swept a hand against the cool silk-soft wood of his desktop, thinking of Nadia’s skin. His heart had started beating faster. “I want to show Vasquez why he shouldn’t have been part of anything that screwed with the Marcone name, why he should have made haste to take his fag lover far away the minute he saw there were Marcones involved. This isn’t the first time we’ve opposed one another, but this is the first and will be the last time he’s deliberately involved himself in smearing shit all over my name. I’d have forgiven him everything that came before he realized who Richard and Marina were, if only he’d gone east at that point, instead of racing back west to stick his guns in where they didn’t belong. And I want him to keep remembering, keep feeling the pain he earned with that fuckup, keep that pain with him for years. For the rest of his life.”

“Yes,” Titus breathed, his voice gone low and distant.

“And that won’t be hard either, Titus. I’ve been doing my homework—keeping a watch on him through a variety of sources. He’s got people, and for all his hardass ways, his heart’s like a sponge.”

Titus took a quick breath, and spoke without inflection. “I love people like that.”

The DA’s brows rose, and he smiled. “I know you do, my man. I know you do.”

Available from Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | All Romance eBooks

Saving Sonny James – (Vasquez and James Book Four)

Luki Vasquez and his still newlywed husband are back home after pulling off a harrowing desert rescue of their teenage nephew Jackie. But the events of the last couple of years have begun to catch up with Luki—loving Sonny James and letting Sonny love him back has left gaps in his emotional armor. In the gunfight that secured Jackie’s rescue, Luki’s bullet killed a young guard, an innocent boy in Luki’s mind. In the grip of PTSD, memories, flashbacks, and nightmares consume him, and he falls into deep, almost vegetative depression.

Sonny devotes his days to helping Luki, putting his own career on hold, even passing up a European tour of galleries and schools—an opportunity that might never come again. But when Luki’s parasomnia turns his nightmares into real-world terror, it breaks the gridlock. Sonny realizes what he’s doing isn’t working, and he says yes to Europe. Enter Harold Breslin, a dangerously intelligent artist’s promoter and embezzler whose obsessive desire for Sonny is exceeded only by his narcissism. When Harold’s plan for Sonny turns poisonous, Luki must break free of PTSD and get to France fit and ready in time to save his husband’s life.


Almost whispering, breathing in fearful sounding gasps, Sonny said, “Luki, I want you to fuck me…. No. No, I want you to make love to me.” He looked away then back to meet Luki’s eyes, brow lowered with worry. “Luki, I know—”

“Sh! Hush, baby.” Luki kissed the tender arch of Sonny’s foot—the rest of him being out of reach. He looked at Sonny and nodded. “Yes. I want that too.” [...] With all the power of his mind, he blocked out the things that would get in the way of him loving Sonny—had been getting in the way for weeks. And with all the power of his heart, he focused everything on his husband, his love. His breath beginning to come faster, biting his lip for stability, he rose on one knee and moved toward his husband.

His hands wanted to wander over Sonny’s skin, and he let them. Let them follow the long slender curves of Sonny’s legs, his inner thighs. When he reached his sex, he framed his husband’s familiar and much-missed cock and balls with his hands, but he didn’t touch them. He let Sonny see the smile in his eyes as he instead moved his hands up over hip bones and belly and abs and pecs with their hard puckered centers of dark, sensitive flesh. Once he reached the chiseled shoulders, he lifted Sonny and pressed him against his own chest. And then he took his lips in a kiss like fire.

Available from Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | All Romance eBooks

Yes – (A Vasquez and James Novella)

Professional badass Luki Vasquez and textile artist Sonny James have been married for five years, and despite the sometimes volatile mix, they’re happy. From their first days together, they stood united against deadly enemies and prevailed. But now the deadly enemy they face is the cancer thriving inside Luki, consuming his lungs.

As Luki’s treatment proceeds, Sonny hovers near, determined to provide every care, control every thread of possibility just as he does when he weaves. But he can’t control the progress of the cancer or how Luki’s body reacts to the treatment regime. Sonny tries, but Luki dances with cancer alone—until he gets a startling reminder of the miracle of life. With renewed determination and mutual love, the two men emerge from their coldest winter into a new spring day.


[Luki] woke up in profound darkness, aware of Sonny still beside him, but held rigid now while small, strangled noises escaped from deep in his throat. Even if it hadn’t been for the give-away sniffle, Luki would have known. Sonny was crying. Not that “I’m sad” kind of crying that was more a glorified pout. No. Sonny fought for all he was worth not to let a sob fly loose. His heart had a great big, hurting hole in the middle of it, and Luki had put it there, and still Sonny tried to protect him. If he couldn’t stop from crying, by God at least he’d do it quietly and let Luki sleep. But he and Luki had loved too long, too deep, too close for Luki not to hear it anyway, to register it even in his sleep, and understand. And feel it, too, like what Sonny felt.

Luki rolled over and put his arms around the man who, when all was said and done, he loved and would love forever.

Available from Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | All Romance eBooks

Because of Jade – (A Vasquez and James Novel)

Luki Vasquez receives the news he’s still cancer free after five years, and he wants to celebrate with his whole family. He and his husband, Sonny James, take a road trip south, intending to gather at the home of his nephew Josh, Josh’s wife Ruthie, and Jade—a little girl who was still in the womb when she and her mother helped Luki beat lung cancer.

 Halfway to their destination, Luki learns Josh and Ruthie have met a tragic death. The horrible news lays Luki low, but he pulls himself together in time to be the family’s rock and see to the dreaded business of tying up loose ends. The most important business is Jade, and when Luki and Sonny head home, they take Jade with them.

 Luki and Sonny must combat self-doubt and fear and help each other learn to parent an unexpected child—and they must also nourish the love that has kept them whole for the past ten years. A relative’s spurious claim to Jade threatens the new family, and even if they prevail in court, they could lose their little girl unless they can rescue Jade from evil hands and true peril.


Later, while Sonny and Jade lay on the floor in front of the fire, and Sonny read Merry Christmas, Mr. Snowman! over and over, Luki paced. He stopped occasionally to look out the window, and just as the sky began to lighten he saw that snow had begun to fall, big flakes touching down soft as feathers to cover the lumpy, frozen ground near the house.

Luki turned around to share the wonder of snow with his family, but they had at last fallen asleep stretched flat on the floor on their stomachs—Jade because of her injuries and Sonny because of his aching back. Luki shook his head and smiled, surprised at how much he loved them even though he knew. He threw some wood on the fire and banked it and fetched a light but warm down comforter and a pillow from the bedroom. Laying himself down next to them, he covered them all three, let his head fall to the pillow, and found first peace, and then sleep.

Available from Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | All Romance eBooks

About the Author: Lou Sylvre hails from southern California but now lives and writes on the rainy side of Washington State. When she’s not writing, she’s reading fiction from nearly every genre, romance in all its tints and shades, and the occasional book about history, physics, or police procedure. Not zombies, though. Her personal assistant is Boudreau, a large cat who never outgrew his kitten meow. She plays guitar (mostly where people can’t hear her) and she loves to sing. She’s usually smiling and laughs too much, some say. She also loves her family, her friends, the aforementioned Boudreau, a Chihuahua named Joe, and (in random order) coffee, chocolate, sunshine, and wild roses.

Visit her at or contact her at

Twitter: @sylvre

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  1. Thank you once again, Raine, and Will, you too!

  2. I love this series so much. I can't even express it. LOL... <3