Inside Out by Amy Lee Burgess - Blog Tour Giveaway

Today, I'm delighted to welcome mystery romance author, Amy Lee Burgess, to my blog. She's on tour promoting her latest release, Inside Out, a Paranormal Mystery Romance. If if you click on the banner, you'll discover more about the tour, including a fabulous giveaway!!


As part of Amy's blog tour, I've asked her a few questions, curious as I am about her writing. So here goes...


1.)  Welcome, Amy. Inside Out sounds intriguing. When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I wrote my first short story  Nightmare on Crestwood Drive when I was ten.  It was a gripping tale of a young girl bullied by her so-called friends.  They used to skip rope by this dark tree which one day decided to reach out and …consume…the bullies. The story ended with the young girl happily skipping rope by herself beneath the bare black branches of the tree.  I guess while writing that story was when I realized I wanted to be a writer because I had the power to fix things that were wrong – even it was only on paper. It wasn’t until I got older and wiser that I learned that what I wrote could definitely transform my life.  The secret is not to hoard your writing in a drawer or on a flashdrive somewhere, but to send it forth into the world and see what comes back to you. 
2.)  What made you choose to write paranormal mystery about shape shifters and vampire romance?
I think about this question a lot.  Why do I incorporate shifters and vampires into my stories? My settings tend to be modern day and in a world that is pretty much the one we all live in today.  No magic, no dystopia, no apocalyptic cataclysm that changes everything.  Instead, I introduce characters who are very real, very human, yet with a difference. They can shift or they have fangs and live forever. 
Do these differences change them?  Define them?  How are their characters shaped by what they can do and who they are?  These are the questions I ask as I write.
My shifters do not possess super strength or act like aggressive Alpha wolves.  Instead, they develop a relationship with their wolves and use the ability to shift to reach into that part of themselves that is not normally accessible or talked about.  
Stanzie, my protagonist, has a wolf that is different than the rest of the Great Pack.  Different not in a superior way as in her wolf can do things others can’t, but different as in not as developed or self-aware as other wolves. Her wolf is childlike and sensory.  Only she’s never looked at her wolf as a handicap, instead she’s focused on what makes her wolf special to her.  It’s only when she moves away from her small pack in an isolated area and begins to operate in the bigger Pack world that she begins to suffer from self-doubt.  Her wolf has always set her apart, but the ways she used to deal with it no longer work and she has to find new methods.  
Each novel in the series explores how she deals with her wolf.  Should she evolve her?  Change her to be more like other wolves?  Protect her? Keep her the same?  And then in the latest novel, Inside Out, she discovers a secret that changes everything about her wolf.  
So I think the paranormal aspect is my attempt to access parts of myself that I may not know exists or that I want to bring forth.  I also am a strong defender and supporter of animals and the relationship between human and animal is one that I definitely get to explore when writing about shifters. 
I think I add a mystery to each novel because I grew up on Agatha Christie and P.D. James novels and it’s what I’m comfortable writing about because it’s what I’m comfortable reading about.  I haven’t actually written a paranormal murder mystery…yet.  
3.)  You’ve lived in some pretty exciting places and experienced fires, floods and hurricanes. Tell us more!
I grew up in a small town in Connecticut and lived there until my (first) divorce when I moved to New Orleans with my new boyfriend. I did this thing where I left *everything* behind.  My furniture, my Christmas decorations, my job, my friends and started all over again in a city I’d visited exactly one time before.  We rented an apartment in the French Quarter that was bare of furniture except for a bed, a television and my computer and, wow, it was an adventure.  I’m glad I did it, but I never want to live on the razor’s edge like that again.  Would we have rent the next month was always a question we had to ask ourselves for the first year we lived there.  
After about three years we moved Uptown and had furniture and never worried anymore about making rent until one night I decided to make a frozen pizza for dinner.  When we moved into this new place, as we were setting up the bedroom I had this really strong premonition to *never* leave a candle unattended on this particular nightstand and for almost two years I was very careful to listen to my inner voice.
Only this particular night I was tired after working a sixty-hour week and decided after I’d lit the candle on the nightstand that I could leave for five minutes to get the pizza out of the oven and return and nothing would be the matter.  The voice warned me, but I was angry and ignored it.  
Of course five minutes later when I returned, the nightstand was in flames which soon leaped to the bed and the next thing I knew I was scrambling through thick black smoke to get my cats out the door.  I only managed to get one of them.  My husband got another and the firemen found one on the balcony and one in the hall.  No one was hurt but I lost most of my furniture.
We bought a house in the Irish Channel across the street from the river and it took us a couple of years, but we built everything back up and the house was just starting to feel like a proper home when Hurricane Katrina struck.
I remember leaving the house when we evacuated thinking I’d never seen any of my things again.  It wasn’t as bad as that because our house did not flood, but we ended up evacuating to Houston and when it came time to move back, my husband and I decided we did not want to.
The days after Katrina are a blur in my mind these days and I made some weird decisions, including one to never go back and get most of the furniture, so once again I started from scratch.
These days I live in an apartment in Houston.  Katrina did a number on my marriage and we divorced and in the years sincethen all four of my cats have passed away.  Now I have two dogs and lots of furniture.   I have a history of starting over from scratch and I like to think I do it faster and better each time around.   In fact, I recently moved and the move was not prompted by a disaster.  No friends or furniture were lost in the process!
4.)  What are you working on now?
The seventh Stanzie novel from The Wolf Within series.  And the second in a vampire series I have yet to place with a publisher.  Optimistic to start the second novel before the first one is sold, right?  I feel a little crazy switching from one WIP to the other but so far it’s going pretty well for both novels.  Cross your fingers that I sell The Circle in 2013, okay?
5.)  Which are your most favorite three books on your bookshelf, and why?
Oh, this is a hard one.  I have so many books I think I will need to choose three that I reread so here it goes.
Bitten by Kelley Armstrong is my all time favorite werewolf novel.  I love the character of Elena so much and I want a Clay in my own love life. Elena’s struggle to come to grips with her werewolf nature and with the man who loved her was something that really appealed to me. There’s a line from the book where Elena is lying in her bed suffering from the change from human to werewolf and people ask her what they can do to help and her answer is “Fix me. Put me back to the way I was” and that’s impossible.  It tore at my heart to read it.  Elena is a very strong woman but even strong women need their moments of anguish or they aren’t real characters to me.  (And this is odd – I have Stanzie’s first bond mates named Elena and Grey and I swear I never read Bitten until *after* I wrote and sold Beneath the Skin.)
The Hollow by Agatha Christie.  I love all of Christie’s murder mysteries, but The Hollow is the one I think of first so that’s why I’m choosing it for this list.  Edward became something of the basis of all my male leads.   (Edward is the faithful, shy, head in the clouds dreamer guy in the novel which is really based around a more forceful, energetic and driven man – who ends up murdered but now you have to read the book to find out what happens next!)   Agatha Christie taught me how to read a murder mystery, and better, how to solve one.  She is the queen of throwing in what seems to be an innocent, throwaway remark which then, in hindsight, reveals everything.  I try to throw stuff like in into my books.  There’s one in Inside Out in fact!
For my third choice I’m going with one of the classics – Dracula by Bram Stoker.   I’ve been fascinated by vampires since forever it seems and every autumn I reread this book.  It’s such an adventure told from different points of view and all from letters, journals, newspaper articles and shorthand transcriptions and it sweeps you along with slowly growing horror until it seems sane that a group of staid, English people would set out armed with stakes and guns to go after some Transylvanian count who is escaping them by cart, ship and barge, always one step ahead. Or so he thinks…

Thank you, Amy. Like you, I love Agatha Christie murder mysteries. She always managed to convey a seemingly straightforward, simple story, only to then turn it upside down. Or inside out, for that matter...


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Blurb:

There's no place like home...or is there?

When Stanzie is asked to investigate her birth pack--Mayflower--she isn't prepared for 
what she finds. 

No one respects the Alphas and the newest adult member of the pack is being encouraged to leave. Why? To make matters worse, the men are dangerously intent on mating and shifting with her.
 

How far will the pack she thought she knew go to get what they want? Without her bond-mate, Liam, Stanzie must face this alone and, barely ahead of threat of violence, must solve the mysteries, and fast.
 

WARNING: Vulgar language, sexual situations, group sex, violence 


Lyrical Press Paranormal Romance
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Excerpt:

Alan looked at me and panic flooded his silver blue eyes. “Stanzie.” My name was a horrified plea.

I could see the ghost of a wolf’s muzzle beneath his mouth. He held out a hand and recoiled when he saw the dark fur on his palm.
 

“Take off your clothes, Alan,” I urged, but he stood there, transfixed. I hastily unbuttoned his plaid shirt and pushed it off his shoulders. “Help me,” I cried as I tugged at his sleeve.
 

“I don’t know what’s happening to me,” he whispered. His body gave a bone crunching shudder and he stared at Faith and Scott’s wolves, terror etched across his face. The wolves waited together, shoulder to shoulder. It was a damn good thing I hadn’t shifted myself. Poor Alan was clueless.
 

I fumbled with the button on his fly and then the zipper. His throat rippled and he threw back his head and howled. The noise nearly scared the shit out of me, but I somehow managed to get his zipper down and then I pushed him onto his ass so I could pull his jeans off. He was no help at all, caught in the throes of the first emergence of his wolf. His body morphed in and out of focus. It was like trying to undress someone by strobe light and I had to shut my eyes so I wouldn’t lose my concentration. Alan whimpered and whined. Shifting was painful sometimes--especially when we fought it and he was. He didn’t know how to relax into the chaos and let it flow. He still struggled for control, for a way to reason out the process, and that was impossible. Shifting did not make sense. It just happened.
 

“Let go. Alan, just go with it,” I coached in a quiet voice as I sat as near as I could to him. He writhed on the pine needles and screamed as his bones shifted beneath his skin. “It hurts less if you just let go.”
 

“Stanzie!” My name turned into an anguished howl and just when I had begun to get scared, it happened. Alan blinked out of this plane and when he blinked back in, he was shifted.
 

His wolf was gorgeous. Dusky black with ice-blue eyes. A touch of gray at the tips of each paw. Big too. Bigger than Scott’s gray wolf. He rolled to his feet and sprawled onto his face when he tried to walk. Two legs to four was a bitch for some people. It had never fazed me, but Grey told me it had taken him half an hour to figure out how the hell to walk the first time he’d shifted. I grinned to remember the story and reached out to pat Alan’s wolf on the head. He whined at me.
 

“Get up and walk. Four legs are fun,” I told him. I was on my hands and knees now, so we could look eye to eye. If he got up, that is. Faith’s wolf pranced over and nudged him with her dainty muzzle. He whined again and she gave a coughing bark. In wolf speak she told him to get off his ass.
 

Scott’s wolf approached me and stared at me so hard I knew he tried to tell me something, but I couldn’t figure out what. Then it hit me. Duh. I was still in human form.
 

I stood up so I could strip off my jeans and t-shirt. Scott’s wolf waited impatiently. Alan’s wolf had gained his wobbly feet but seemed stuck in one position. When Faith’s wolf nudged his back end with her nose, he promptly fell over again and I snickered. Alan’s wolf gave me a reproachful look and I patted his head in apology. Scott’s wolf moved behind me and bumped the back of my knees so hard I fell over. Alan’s wolf wheezed with lupine laughter. “At least I can walk on all fours,” I muttered. Naked, I crawled away a few feet to give myself space for shifting. Only nothing happened.
 

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Author Bio:

Amy Lee Burgess wrote her first ghost story at age ten. Born in New England, she has also lived in New Orleans and Houston, survived fires, floods, hurricanes, divorce and the premature cancellation of several of her favorite television shows. Turning her back on such shocking betrayals, she is now writing about ghosts, vampires, and other paranormal things and is much happier for it.


Author Links:
Website
Twitter
Goodreads

Buy Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Lyrical Press



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GIVEAWAY!

An Amazon gift card of $15 will be awarded to one lucky commenter from Buy the Book's Media Page at the end of the 8 week book tour - Please include your email address with your comment - Good Luck!

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8 comments:

  1. Welcome to my place, Amy.

    Your story about starting from scratch again and again sounds familiar. Like you, I started with nothing a couple of times over. Plus, I once had a bathroom on fire, and had trouble pulling one cat from under the bed. Luckily, we all escaped, apart from the bathroom furniture!

    I can understand why you didn't want to return after Katrina. It's just too many signs.

    Wishing you much success with Inside Out!

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    1. Thanks for having me here, Cathie. The best thing about starting over multiple times is that I know I can do it. It's gut-wrenching to lose beloved things, but they are just things after all.

      Fires are just terrifying, aren't they? And they can spread so fast. I'm glad nothing suffered in your fire but the bathroom furniture. :)

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    2. You're very welcome, Amy. Great to have you here.

      Yes, it is scary. We have an open fireplace in our cottage and I always make sure it's all sorted before I go to sleep. Better be safe than sorry.

      Have a great tour!

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  2. I'm another Agatha Christie fan. It takes a lot of bravery to start over in the way you have. It takes determination, I think.
    Loved the excerpt. I definitely want to know what happens next.

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    1. Agatha Christie was a pioneer in creating an atmosphere of suspense, and leading the reader astray.

      Thanks for stopping by, Shelley.

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    2. Starting over so many times has given me the opportunity to live in a couple of fascinating cities and to discover things about myself that I never knew. Plus, it's good internal fodder for plot lines! Agatha Christie and her books have been constant companions since I was twelve years old!

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  3. I'm a big believer in listening to your 'inner voice'.

    A great post thank you.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    Replies
    1. I will always listen to my inner voice from now on. I learned my lesson for sure! :)

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