November 1, 2018

Kincaid Strange is a Tease! Voodoo Lipstick by @kristicharish #urbanfantasy

Series: Kincaid Strange 2
Release Date: January 8, 2019
Publisher: Vintage Canada
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Kincaid Strange, not your average voodoo practitioner, is back in the freshly imagined and hugely entertaining second installment of Kristi Charish's urban fantasy series. Kincaid Strange cannot catch a break. After dealing with a spate of paranormal murders, there's barely time to recuperate—let alone sleep in—before there's a new problem in Kincaid's world of paranormal activity. When her roommate, Nathan Cade—the ghost of a grunge-rocker with a pathological lack of self-control—comes home bound to a dead body, it's up to Kincaid to figure out how to free him. Ideally before her new mentor, Gideon, a powerful sorcerer's ghost, discovers that Nate is trapped in the body he'd coveted for himself.

When Aaron, a Seattle cop on the afterlife beat—and Kincaid's ex—calls her in to help out with a cold case, she takes the chance to mend fences with the police department. The problem: they want to interview Nate's ghost, which she can't produce. Then people from Nate's past start showing up dead, and what's killing them doesn't seem to be human. And the way it's killing them is especially brutal.

Nate's hiding something, but he's Kincaid's friend and she wants to help him. But she also wants to stay alive....

You Get What You Pay For. Kincaid Strange and Nathan Cade seek help from queen of zombies, Lee Ling, at her bar in the Underground City, Damaged Goods

Mork placed both his hands on the thick wood table and leaned in to get a closer look. “How did you get him in there?” he demanded.
Now it was my turn to be indignant—and do some damage control. Mork was deplorable, but he was the only reliable source of human brains in Seattle, maybe Washington state. I couldn’t afford to torch that bridge. “Easy, I didn’t. As far as I can tell, it was a complete accident. I’m trying to figure that detail out, so if you would be so kind as to go get Lee—”
 “Kincaid, feel free to take this the wrong way, but I don’t want anything to do with your current shit show,” Mork said, and once again pointed at Nate. “And that is a shit show.”
“That’s why I didn’t ask you, Mork. Now just tell me where Lee is—”
He shook his head and started to walk away.
I glared at Nate. “I thought I told you to keep a low profile?”
“It’s Mork.”
“It took him less than a minute to figure out you weren’t Cameron. What if he tells someone and it gets back to Gideon?”
Nate frowned at me. “I repeat. It’s Mork. No one listens to Mork.”
I swore. “Stay,” I told Nate, and scrambled out of the booth. If I was fast, maybe I could catch Mork before he disappeared into the back cooler or somewhere else I wouldn’t be able to yell at him.
“Mork, all I want is to talk to Lee.”
He didn’t respond as he walked behind the bar. He did, however, open the cooler door and shout something in Chinese.
I don’t recognize many words in Chinese, but the ones I do aren’t complimentary, and there were definitely a few of those mixed in there.…
Kincaid Strange.” Lee’s low, throaty voice carried through the bar. Too rough a texture to be feminine, but refined with a touch of a British accent. The kind I’d imagine hearing in a 1920s speakeasy. And tonight she did not sound happy.
I threw one last glare at Nate, still huddled in the booth, and turned to face Lee as she stepped out of the cooler.
Lee usually wore her hair up, but tonight it was tied in a long braid that hung down her back. She was dressed in a dark grey Chinese-style silk dress covered in red, pink and white flowers. An off-white apron was draped over the front and she held a blender containing a grey, frothy mixture out to the side. Lee usually wore colours that flattered and contrasted her pale skin and dark hair, but the dark grey was an odd choice. Where she often dressed to draw attention away from the scars that ran across her face like cracks in porcelain, the colour of this dress made the grey rivulets stand out. It did bring out her pale green-blue eyes, however, ones that had been bought and paid for. Dearly.
“What are you doing in my bar with him?” Lee said as she strode over.
“It’s not what it looks like—” I started.
She stopped in front of me and crossed her arms, staring me down. “When things are not what they seem, they almost always end up being much worse. Bad luck has been following you around like a stray kitten lately, Kincaid. You know how I feel about bad luck.”
Yeah, I certainly did. Bad luck had been the story of Lee’s life.…
Lee Ling Xhao had died during the summer of 1889, the year the great fire destroyed most of Seattle courtesy of a dry summer, a city built on wooden stilts, and a carpentry shop full of turpentine.
            Lee didn’t die in the fire, though. She had been murdered three weeks before the carpenter ever had the bright idea of downing a bottle of whisky and striking a match.
            At the tender age of fifteen, Lee had had a flourishing career as a high-end courtesan in Shanghai. Known for her gold-coloured eyes, a coveted symbol of freedom from worldly cares, she expected to have a long and illustrious career … until her twin brother, Lou, was exposed as a practitioner of the dark arts. Perfectly acceptable in China at the time, but not so much so with her predominantly foreign and very Christian clientele. The two fled to the west coast, once again setting up shop, Lou selling his talents and Lee selling hers.
            To hear her tell it, Lee had quite the distinguished clientele, all of whom she and her brother planned to extort and blackmail into comfortable retirement. Until the wife of one of Lee’s more ardent customers got wise to where her husband’s money was going.
            Stories of Whitechapel’s infamous Jack the Ripper murders had reached the Northwest by then, and had inspired Seattle’s own copycat, a ghoul as I had recently discovered, who’d preyed on crib girls, the indentured Chinese prostitutes who were kept by the Seattle docks. Which is where the merchant’s wife, Isabella, got her inspiration.
            Drugged with chloroform in a dark alley, her single scream muffled by the evening crowds, the very last thing Lee saw was the paring knife as Isabella sliced into her beautiful porcelain face. Lee’s brother did his best to stitch her up before raising her as a zombie, but the grey china cracks running over her beautiful face were daily reminders of her violent death.
            I asked her once why she hadn’t replaced her stolen eyes with another golden pair.
            “I like green,” she’d said. “It is a good reminder that I am not free from worldly cares. And Isabella had such beautiful green ones.”
So yeah, Lee had a tempestuous relationship with luck.…
“Lee, wait, let me explain—”
Without a word, she gracefully manoeuvred around me as she headed for Nate. I swore and followed before she could lay into him in front of the entire bar.
She didn’t, though. Instead, she stopped just short of the booth where Nate was watching us in fear—his usual reaction to Lee’s often intimidating presence. She crossed her arms and regarded him shrewdly.

Her face didn’t soften exactly, but it did lose its hard edge, and her scars seemed to still their angry dance, though that may have been a trick of the light. She uncrossed her arms and nodded towards her office. “Bring him into my office, Kincaid. We need to talk.”

Kristi is the author of OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS, an urban fantasy series about a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world, and THE VOODOO KILLINGS, an urban fantasy/mystery about a voodoo practitioner living in Seattle with the ghost of a deceased grunge rocker. She writes what she loves; adventure heavy stories featuring strong, savvy female protagonists, pop culture, and the occasional RPG fantasy game thrown in the mix.

Kristi is also a scientist with a BSc and MSc from Simon Fraser University in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and a PhD in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. Her specialties are genetics, cell biology, and molecular biology, all of which she draws upon in her writing.

Website | @kristicharish | Facebook | IG: @charishkristi 

Talk Supe

October 16, 2018

Writer Wrangler: Karen Booth and Secrets of a (Somewhat) Sunny Girl #interview #womenslit

I've been a Karen Booth fan since Talk Supe's early days. I love her romances, it's passionate and sincere but very tempered and devoid of romantic hyperbole and all the unnecessary drama that ensues from it. It also helps that we're both Duran Duran fans (although I don't think I can measure up to her level of fandom) and I think I can't hear to Simon LeBon's voice without thinking of Karen, I think they'll be forever intertwined in my mind. 

Today I have Karen back to celebrate the release of her new book, SECRETS OF A (SOMEWHAT) SUNNY GIRL. It's a cross between romance and Women's Literature and I for one am very excited for her and for this new novel. Read up to learn more!