Tuesday, September 23, 2014

INTERVIEW: Lou Hoffman plus #Giveaway!

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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!

Thank you so much for inviting me to The Hat Party, Raine! I put on my best “shining turkey” hat for the occasion. You like?

You’re accepting the award for Best Writer in the Universe! Share part of your acceptance speech with our audience.

I couldn’t have done it without duct tape!

Tell us about a time you were changed.

When I was a very young girl, I was angry at my dad and I said, “Bad night and unpleasant dreams.” Now, my dad had a bit of a temper and spankings were the universal mode of discipline back in those prehistoric times, but he didn’t yell or spank. He went and got his tape recorder (yes, reel to reel), and turned it on and told me to say the following ten times into the tape recorder mic: “Tonight I told my father to have a bad night and unpleasant dreams.” I didn’t get through the whole sentence once before my heart started aching with the pain of wishing harm on someone I truly loved. It changed me then, made me realize that words are powerful things. And later in life that incident affected the way I would parent my own children, and it gave me the lifelong habit of treating the young like people in their own right, with a full range of emotion, and deserving of an ear to hear, and a heart to share their sorrows and joys.

You’re writing along and you’re attacked by a horde of zombies…ON FIRE…how do you survive? Or do you become a zombie too?

I make them a facebook page, and put a lot of shiny and squirrel stuff on their timeline. While they are completely distracted from the idea of eating my brains, I make them Jello, because there’s always room for it. Because their mouths are decayed, the Jello slides right out, onto the floor. Jello is slippery. They slide down the stairs like so many giraffes on ice skates, and pile up. I don’t if you knew this, but zombies are basically like sharks—eating machines. So, while in the dog (zombie) pile, they snack upon one another. I hose down the stairs, and voila, zombie rebellion quashed.

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

Is a picture worth two hundred words? Because this guy is in my book.

Describe yourself using lyrics.

I’d like to buy the world a home and furnish it with love
Grow apple trees and honey bees and snow white turtle doves
I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.
I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company.

You can go back to any point in your life to give you past self a pep-talk. How old is your past self and what do you say?

You need a better plan. Yeah, I’m talking to you, sweet 16. Maybe you can’t stay where you are now, but don’t go running out there into the world, because honey, you are not prepared for what is going to get thrown at you. Think it through. Make a better plan, baby, because you are so worth it. This time counts—you never get to do it over. Trust yourself. Don’t let people use you.

Your thoughts on libraries: GO!

Libraries are everything to a lonely, misfit child. Their books are every dancer you ever wanted to be, every horse you ever wanted to ride, every home full of love, every alien planet you could ever hope for or dread. They take you on trips through mountains and deserts and float you on rivers and seas; they land you in the biggest cities and strand you on Islands off the coast of early California. You don’t just get to see The Borrowers, you get to be one. You are Nancy Drew, and you’re Timmy who loves Lassie, and you’re Genghis Kahn and Gunga Din and Crazy Horse and Leschi. Yes, you are Arthur and Merlin and Guinevere—all at once, and nowadays you’re Harry Potter and Dumbledore and even Mrs. McGonagall. Libraries are our friends, our teachers, our challenge, our ease. Libraries are the source. That is all.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in your career and what did you learn from it?

The biggest mistake I made was not believing in myself enough. As a result I over-revised my work due to listening to the advice of everybody else because, of course, they were all so much smarter than me. From that I learned to be reasonable, but confident.

And finally, you’ve just inherited a dachshund farm. Now what?

I find my most talented puppies and teach them to herd cats. :)

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Book Name: Key of Behliseth
Author Name: Lou Hoffmann
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press (Dreamspinner Press imprint)

On his way to meet a fate he'd rather avoid, homeless gay teen Lucky steps through a wizard's door and is caught up in a whirlwind quest and an ancient war. He tries to convince himself that his involvement with sword fights, magic, and interworld travel is a fluke, and that ice-breathing dragons and fire-breathing eagles don't really exist. But with each passing hour, he remembers more about who he is and where he's from, and with help, he begins to claim his power.

Lucky might someday rule a nation, but before he can do that, he must remember his true name, accept his destiny, and master his extraordinary abilities. Only then can he help to banish the evil that has invaded earth and find his way home—through a gateway to another world.

Isa left her four Ethran servants to tend the boy until she could return and summoned her recent Earthborn recruits. She gathered them in the vast circular sanctum, the better to show them their insignificance, to inflame their need to serve the Demon Queen. She preferred dimness and shadow, but weaker, ordinary eyes needed light. With a dark word and a flick of thin, sharp fingers, she set a ring of torches burning behind them, blue and cold.

She stood tall in the center of the space, robed as always in blue. Acolytes surrounded her, all Earthborn and easily enslaved by magic. They numbered fifty-two, and huddled in kneeling quadrants of thirteen each. Not as many as she would have liked, but a fair number considering the limitations of time.

Mordred waited in the dark outside the circle, bearing a small stone dagger and a mirrored tray holding four large crystal goblets. Each cup contained a potion brewed of red elder, skullcap, bindweed, and rue. As Isa had taught him, Mordred had, in each cup, drowned a wolf spider and weighted it with moonstone and jet. The final ingredient, the one that would bind them to Mordred, and through him to her and to Mahl, would be added later, in ritual sacrifice.

Having earlier cast a glamour to mellow her voice and visage, Isa lifted her draped arms and bade the supplicants raise their eyes. She began to speak, preaching with a rhythm and flow designed to mesmerize. As eyes glazed in the audience, she blended her words into Dark Chant, low and guttural, sending shadows into their hearts to bleed them of heat.

The last syllables of the spell echoed into the vastness of the sanctum. From the slaves, no sound, no movement.

“Mordred,” she called, and all heads turned to follow him as he came forward, placed the tray at her feet, and went to one knee. He turned the knife and offered it. She took it and then pulled him to his feet, raising his hand to present him to the gathering.

“Here is your captain,” she said. All bowed their heads, and a slow smile of satisfaction twisted Mordred’s face. His eyes glittered in anticipation of new power.

After a moment, Isa instructed the Earthborns to stand in their places. “As is proper, your captain will fortify you with his own strength, through his own sacrifice.

“Behold his gift.”

He knelt again before her, and she drew the knife three inches down each of his forearms, turning the knife to slide under the skin and increase the flow of blood. The smile didn’t leave his face. He uttered no sound. He held his arms over the tray and let his blood, dark with the taint of Mahl, fall into the cups drip by drip.

Quietly, Isa said, “Sufficient.”

Mordred stood, bearing the tray, and waited while she instructed the supplicants.

Isa had named a leader for each quadrant of thirteen, a person with some small portion of magic underlying their greed. To each of these four, while his tarnished blood still flowed down his arms, Mordred entrusted a crystal goblet. They did not drink first, but passed the cup each among their twelve.

When all the others had partaken, the leaders took the cups again and drank, draining every drop of potion until stone and spider fell upon their pallid lips, a sorcerer’s kiss.

Available from Dreamspinner Press (ebook) | Dreamspinner Press (paperback)


*What inspired you to write Key of Behliseth?

What first gave me the idea for Key of Behliseth was my struggle to understand quantum physics and string theory in the simplest way, but what inspired me was Lucky, the character who wanted his story told. In a more remote sense, I was inspired by memories of myself as a teen, and by young people I’ve worked with or known—I wanted to give Lucky a way out of his predicament. A little vision of hope never hurt anyone, right?

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

Keep your hands inside the car at all times. It’s a rollercoaster ride. :)

*What are your hopes for this title?

I hope I’ll hear from some young readers that they enjoyed it, that they found something worthwhile in Lucky’s story. I want to hear the same from adult readers, too. I’d like to see it on a library shelf or e-book collection. I’d like to have readers eager for the next book in the Sun Child Chronicles series. Oh, and I’d like to sell a million books.

About the Author: Lou Hoffmann, a mother and grandmother now, has carried on her love affair with books for more than half a century, and she hasn’t even made a dent in the list of books she’d love to read—partly because the list keeps growing as more and more fascinating tales are told in written form. She reads factual things—books about physics and stars and fractal chaos, but when she wants truth, she looks for it in quality fiction. Through all that time she’s written stories of her own, but she’s come to be a published author only as a johnnie-come-lately. Lou loves other kinds of beauty as well, including music and silence, laughter and tears, youth and age, sunshine and storms, forests and fields, rivers and seas. Proud to be a bisexual woman, she’s seen the world change and change back and change more in dozens of ways, and she has great hope for the freedom to love in the world the youth of today will create in the future. You can find Lou on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lou.hoffmann, or twitter @Lou_Hoffmann.

Tour Dates/Stops:

9/18: Love Bytes

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