Friday, March 2, 2012

TBR welcomes Rae Lori

TBR: Welcome, Rae. Will you share a little bit about yourself, Rae?
Rae: Thank you very much! Great to be here. :-)
I'm a multi-genre, multi-published author. Geek girl, movie lover and a big dreamer. I'm also a choco-holic, a pumpkin-holic and speculative nut. ;-)

TBR: Tell us about Cimmerian City and where it's available.
Rae: Cimmerian City is a futuristic sci-fi thriller about a world where pharmaceuticals have changed some of the population into vampire-like creatures called Dracins. It's a world where government has been replaced by corporations in pursuit of complete control. My heroine, Raven Blackheart, is at the heart of the story, trying to navigate this world after she dies in 1999 and reawakens 15 years later. No one and nothing is as it seems but there are allies out there looking out for her welfare while there are others trying to make her into the ultimate weapon. Available here.

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Raven made her way up the stairs of her apartment complex. It was a long night and the only thing she wanted was to dive into her bed. Okay, maybe a shower and then dive right into her bed. She tried to figure out just what exactly she was going to tell Deamond. If only she could extend the time so she can figure it out. The morning dew was already dropping on the city and the dim sunlight began to show against the thick polluted atmosphere and cloudy sky. Time was definitely not on her side.
She reached in her pocket as a sound broke the silence behind her.
Raven let the key go just as she sensed a slow pulsating heart nearby. This was no ordinary person. She smelled beads of sweat oozing from his pores. There was also a masculine scent like cologne mixed with completely male scent that defined this particular person. He was fully human. The beating of his heart grew louder. The smell of him grew stronger and stronger, until…
Raven whipped around, shot out her arm, and pinned the figure against the wall.
“You ought to be careful where you skulk in the shadows,” she said to the figure. “I could’ve just snapped your neck.”
“You could’ve,” the figure said, “but you didn’t.” He grabbed her arm, held it behind her back, and pushed her against the wall.
Raven couldn’t make out his face in the dark; not even in the moments he turned her around and forced her against the wall. She took note of the hooded top connected to his thick dark jacket.
“Raven,” the figure said. “I need to speak with you. Inside.”
“You know my name,” she said. “Good, now you can tell me more. Like what you think you’re doing here manhandling me like this.”
“If you let me in, I will answer all your questions.” She felt him lean down and pick up the key she had dropped.
“Where did you—”
“It’s not smart to leave such belongings lying around,” he said softly, holding the keys out. “Especially when they hold so much importance.”
Raven yanked the key from him and slipped it in the door.
The apartment was just as she left it: small, yet spacious due to the arrangement of the furniture. They must have had a professional design the living space. If it were up to her, the area would be a train wreck.
Through the darkness, she made out the shapes of a couch and loveseat aligning the living room. The kitchen stood perpendicular to the front door with a small window overlooking the outside city below.
The door whooshed closed behind them.
“Great, no lights.”
“Lights, eighty percent,” the man said behind her.
The lights in the ceiling flickered on.
“How did you see before?”
She shrugged. “Lights were on when I got in.”
“Mmm hmm.”
Raven turned to the hooded figure. He stood tall over her and from the way he filled out his thin black sweater and fitted slacks; he was muscular beneath the large brown cloth cloak.
“I could’ve drank from you,” she said.
“I don’t think you would have.”
She slyly reached down into her boot and pulled her gun out which she aimed at him. “Are you sure about that?”
The man walked past her nonchalantly, not even flinching at her fast movement. In seconds he moved toward her. He swept her off her feet with a turn and knocked the gun from her hand.
Raven felt the wind nearly knocked out of her as she ambled backward and slammed against the ground. The man bent down, snatched up her gun, and held the barrel against her face.
“What the—” She rolled onto her side and tried to kick his arm, but he dodged her just in time. He swung around, holding her neck down.
“I’m trying to help you here, Raven. If you let me, I can tell you the truth about what’s going on and better than some corporate memo.”
Raven loosened her body under his grip. Slowly, he removed the hood to reveal a strikingly handsome masculine face with strong, defined features. His hazel almond eyes looked down at her and she saw from his finely chiseled bone structure that he was of Chinese descent. Despite her anger toward him, she couldn’t deny that he was attractive.
“Did you check the package?” he asked, breaking her concentration.
“Package?” Raven forced her mind to repeat his question. He gestured to a package near the door.
“I saw the memo already, if that’s what you mean.”
“No, I don’t mean the memo. Your pulse is weakening. You need energy. Judging from how tired you look, I can guess you haven’t fed today.”
“Maybe I’ve been out running errands all night without any sleep,” Raven said, her words dripping with sarcasm. “Think of that one, Einstein?”
He released his grip from her and stood. “Check the back table.”
Raven forced herself to stand. In that moment, she knew there was something to the power of suggestion as weakness invaded her legs. She walked to the table, looked inside the brown bag atop the table, and reached inside for one of the syringes filled with red liquid.
“Is this what I think it is?” She asked, holding it higher.
The man didn’t look at her, even as he answered. “Something like it. It won’t hurt you if that’s what you’re afraid of.”
Raven scoffed and peered down at the red liquid. “This stuff hurting me is the least of my worries right about now.” Slowly she tapped the end and removed the safety plastic.
From the slight turn of his head, she noticed he had looked at her as she spoke the words. She wondered if he picked up on the melancholy sound of her voice as she said the words.
“So,” she said as she slipped the needle in her arm, “you can answer all my questions, hmm?”
“Let’s start with who you are.”
Calmness stole over her; a tingly sensation that spread throughout her body. It felt different from the injection at the corporation. Then again, she wasn’t near insanity from suffering thirst.
Raven looked up at the man feeling a warm energy hum between them.  She had felt this before, a long time ago before everything had happened. The last man she had such feelings for was Jack. Attraction. There was something about this man that enticed her senses and added to her curiosity. He was confident in his movements, solemn, serious and yet deadly at the same time. But he didn’t raise any alarm bells as to being dangerous toward her. In her heart, Raven knew she could trust the man.
She couldn’t have these feelings for him. Even though it had happened years ago, she still felt a connection toward Jack. She still hated those creatures for what they did to him. If she could destroy those like them and make the streets safer, all the better to keep her focused on the job.
Raven shook the thought from her head and watched the man in her apartment. Slowly he walked around the room, taking in the small knickknacks and decorations that made up her living space.
“Are you finished?”
She peered down at the syringe that was nearly empty of the liquid. Pulling it out of her arm, she took a deep breath and allowed the liquid to melt through her veins.
“Now I am.”
“No,” he stopped walked and turned around to look at her. “I mean are you finished studying me.”
“Look mister—”
“My name is Russell Li,” he said softly.
Raven held her head up high and held her ground. “All right. Now tell me why you’re here.”
“I use to work in the Tech Corp.”
“Doing what?”
He slightly tilted his head to the side as he looked at her. His dark brown eyes piercing her own. “I started the Offworld mission. I made designs, oversaw the construction.”
“You must be pretty proud.”
Russell shook his head. “Hardly. But I had no choice.”
“What do you mean?”
He pointed to the couch. “May I?”
Raven nodded. “Go ahead.”
He slid the cloak off his broad shoulders, gently folded it across the back of the sofa and then took a seat. “I don’t suppose Deamond told you about the Offworld mission.”
“No, but the driver mentioned booking his flight to get away from the filth of this world.”
Russell smiled. “The Offworld mission is the Tech Corp’s latest operation. They’ve created a massive ship that’s able to hold enough people to populate about half of a planet.
“Terraforming has been science’s latest experiment since 1996 and we’ve made at least two planets habitable. One of which is the apple of humanity’s eye.”
“How come I haven’t heard about this yet?”
“What the media doesn’t want you to see or hear, they won’t broadcast. Just like the war with the Dracins. They want you to believe these so-called renegade Dracin groups are just a bunch of rebels out to hurt the little helpless humans. But I assure you, the humans are just as bad…if not worse.”
Raven walked to the kitchen. The window on the side gave her a spectacular view of the city. Dark rain clouds formed across the smog-filled sky.
“And you’re now telling me this because you’re in it for something?” she said.
“I’ll prove to you I’m only looking out for your welfare.”
“What if I don’t care about my welfare?” she said softly. “What if I said you were just wasting your breath and I don’t want anything to do with the Tech Corp, your Offworld mission, or you?”
“You have the ability to change things, Raven. Both sides will listen to you. Deamond was right about that.”
Deamond? She turned to face him. How did he know what was said in that room?
“How do you know this?”
“I still have contacts working in the Tech Corp. They hear things.”
She walked toward him. “What if I told Deamond that you and your friends were eavesdropping on the higher-ups? He’d wipe you all out and make life better for humans, make the corporate clowns feel all warm and powerful. Is that what you want? Because all I want is to make those people suffer like my Jack suffered. I couldn’t have been made into the monster I am today if it wasn’t for those helpless little renegades you’re defending.”
He stood and approached her. “And Dracins wouldn’t have been made into what they were if it wasn’t for the greedy addiction to power by the humans.”
Raven sighed heavily. “You're human. Why defend them so much after all they’ve done?”
Russell stood and walked toward her, stopping a few feet away. He picked up a little trinket that looked like a heart shaped glass paperweight with a teddy bear perched on top. “Perhaps I’ve seen the evil that men do,” he said. In those moments she could tell there was a story there, but now wasn’t the time to press on it. She already had a lot to mull over and this Russell guy still acted cautiously toward her. 
“Well,” Russell cleared his throat and set the trinket down and scooped up his jacket. “When you’re ready to accept your role in this world, come find me.” He pulled out a card and handed it to her. “I suggest you see this man. His name is Enos Relim. He’ll know how to find me. He can also help you find your way back.”
“Back to what?”
The front door beeped once, opened, and then closed. He was gone. Raven looked down at the card with the name Enos Relim written in large letters over an address.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Rae: I lean more toward pantser because I love to run with the basic idea of the story in my head. I don't quite know what will happen exactly or how it will end but I love seeing the story grow. It's a bit of a discovery for me as I roll with the punches writing the first draft.

TBR: Did any music inspire your book? Do you have a playlist?
Rae: Oh definitely! I had a few unique tunes playing in my head as I writing because I usually see my stories as movies in my head. I even thought about the trailers for each book as if they were movies. My playlist included:

Cimmerian City
Out Of Sight - Spiritualized
24 - Jem
Amor Fati - Aurah
Red Tape - Agent Provacateur
Blade Runner Blues - Vangelis
Ishka - Angel Tears (End scene & Credits)

A Feast of Shadows
Passing Ships - Michael Halaas
Habibi - Angel Tears
Navras - Don Davis vs Juno Reactor
BKAB (Speechfull Mix) - Ethan Stoller
While the Earth Sleeps - Peter Gabriel & Deep Forest

TBR: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?
Rae: I'd love invite Russell mainly for ogling purposes (even though Raven may have my head for that). I'd definitely lock the door and turn the lights off if Tyler Deamond was circling the block.

TBR: While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
Rae: I keep learning different things about my characters that I hadn't anticipated. I used to tell my writing students that you know you've written a well rounded character when they start to take over the story. No matter how many stories I write, they always end up surprising me by taking the story a different way that somehow always fits with something that was set up earlier in the story. It's a great surprise when that happens.

TBR: What's next for you?
Rae: I have a ton of works coming up and in progress. At the time of writing this, I'm prepping A Feast of Shadows, the sequel to Cimmerian City, for release. I have the next and final book in the Ashen Twilight series coming up, Inheritance of Ashes. I also just finished edits with a new publisher I recently signed with under a new pen name. Readers of my newsletter will be kept up to date with that urban fantasy romance release.

I have a cyberpunk sci-fi romance entitled Intergalactic in the works. I also have some minor works that I'm currently juggling in different genres: a historical romance set in the English countryside, an action packed romantic thriller and a contemporary romance. Eventually I plan to write a few YA fantasy works that have been floating around in my head.

TBR: Any other published works?
Rae: I have a few.

A Kiss of Ashen Twilight (Book 1 in the Ashen Twilight Series)
(Epic Contemporary Fantasy Romance)

Within the Shadows of Mortals (Book 2 in the Ashen Twilight Series)
(Epic Contemporary Fantasy Romance)

Voice of Abandon, or The Princess and the Violinist
(Sweet Contemporary Romance)

One Evening in London
(Sweet Contemporary Romance)

Before Dawn Breaks
(Romantic Suspense Thriller)

The Eye of Alloria
(Illustrated Science Fantasy Novella)

The Hot Dry Spell
(Historical Urban Fantasy Story)

The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Novels Vol. 1
(World Building Chapter)

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
Rae:  I'm usually floating around Twitter and Facebook. Here are my links!


Ashen Twilight Series Facebook Page:
Goodreads Reader Profile (the one I use most!):
Feel free to friend me, follow and/or fan me if you've enjoyed my work!

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Rae: Definitely! What are the characteristics of a great read to you and what book has recently met your criteria?

TBR: Thanks for visiting TBR, Rae. Best of luck to you.


  1. Welcome Rae! And thanks for being TBR's Featured Author for February! :)

  2. That excerpt is very tantalizing and you have a very intriguing playlist of songs. Looks like I'll be updating my TBR list for sure.


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