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Venus and Lysander Interview

Venus and Lysander cover

About the Book

Title: Venus and Lysander

Author: Yoshiyuki Ly

Genre: Historical Romance / Fantasy

Living as a nobleman and as a woman, Valerie of Lysander is sick of waiting for the world to change. The discrimination she suffers as an outcast builds into resentment. Once Val takes matters into her own hands, the whole Empire of Tynan feels her brand of justice. The Emperor’s adviser, Lucrezia of Azrith, wants more of Val’s ruthlessness—for revenge against the unjust, and for her own desires. Venus and Lysander is an intricate romance set in the fictional Victorian city of Eden, 250 years after the events in The Scorpion’s Empress.

Lucrezia is Lady Chancellor for the Emperor and a sorceress-in-hiding. She is forced to conceal her identity from the religious public for fear of death. As she learns to trust in Val’s chivalry and affections for her, they both fall for the softer sides behind their similar bulletproof personas. Lucrezia receives a mysterious warning about a sadistic enemy threatening the Azrith and Lysander families. Once they discover their nemesis’ true motive, Val and Lucrezia’s tyrannous devotion for one another is all they can count on to survive.

This week I am happy to welcome Yoshiyuki Ly to my site. I thank her and Enchanted Book Promotions for bringing us together.

  • Let’s start at the beginning… how do you like to say hello? Do you have a favorite greeting? Are you a hugger?
    I usually say “hey” or nod my head. Not much of a hugger unless I know the person well and haven’t seen them in a long time.
  • I’m finding the character of Val fascinating. A woman living in a man’s world is at once very timeless and completely modern. Shades of Orlando. What inspired this character? Can you give us a glimpse into her head?
    I was inspired by my own androgyny as someone who looks feminine but thinks and sometimes acts in masculine ways. She doesn’t fit in. She knows that the binary ways of seeing gender end up causing issues for most people in the world, and not just her. But because she’s affected by this mentality more so than others, Val is the one who’s compelled to change the world “for the better,” even though she’s inherently self-motivated.
  • Fantasy can be so all-consuming (in such a good way) for readers- why did you choose the Victorian era to color your world? What can you tell potential readers about why they should visit the city of Eden?
    I played a lot of Bloodborne while writing this story. It’s a horror action role-playing game with Lovecraftian themes, set in a fantasy Victorian setting. The stark darkness of that setting compelled me along with the soundtrack. Eden doesn’t feature the horror from Bloodborne, but there’s a lot of history from the institutions there: it’s a hotbed of history-in-the-making with a revolution for civil rights at its tipping point.
  • What is next on your writer’s journey? What goal do you have in your sights next?
    Working on a distant sequel for this book that ties everything together.
  • Have you had any cool fan interactions? Have any of your readers’ responses particularly touched you?
    Most of my current fans have been with me since I wrote fanfiction. A few of them are my friends today. Forming those unexpected bonds was nice for me.
  • Can you share three new, relatively unknown books? We all love recommendations so choose three awesome titles to champion. (No fair picking your own!)
    I’m not sure about new, but anything by Pixelnyx, my favorite author, is worth my recommendation.
  • Can you share one resource: website, marketing strategy, social media medium that you feel has most helped you and could help other writers on their way?
    I keep a blog that I update regularly with my writing process and anything else that I’m up to. I think it helps readers stay connected with me.
  • What do you wish your readers could know about you?
    Nothing they don’t already know. I’m a private person.
  • If you could play Fairy Godmother for one night and give three people a gift, which three would you visit and what would you give them?
    It would be three specific people that I don’t speak to anymore. I’d like to give them a smile for once—something they rarely got from me.
  • Mimosa vs. Bloody Mary- the debate rages on… compare and contrast, please.
    I actually don’t think all that much.
  • If you had to choose… country music or rock and roll… what would you choose and why does your choice speak to you?
    I can’t think of any country songs I like, so rock and roll. If it includes alternative rock like Radiohead and IAMX, then that’s perfect. I tend to like a blend of genres.
  • And lastly… what is your favorite reward after a long day of writing—that little treat you give yourself?
    Actual sleep. I have a bad habit of not sleeping for days at a time when I’m working on a series of chapters. Not because I’m avoiding sleep—the insomnia takes over when I have too many ideas and my mind won’t shut off. It’s a blessing and a curse.

Author bio

Yoshiyuki Ly was born in San Diego, CA. She lived there until moving away to college. In high school, she began writing fanfiction as a serious hobby. Her pen name represents her multiracial heritage and a unique, diverse outlook that reflects in her work. She is a writer and a gamer.

The Links


This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog. Erika’s debut novel, The Dragon in The Garden can be found at Tirgearr Publishing.


This is a VERY fun week. Thank you to Steve Wiley for agreeing to be on my blog AND to Enchanted Book Tours for putting us all together.

About this fabulous book…

In Chicago, a secret L train runs through the mythical East Side of the city. On that train, you’ll find a house-cat conductor, an alcoholic elf, a queen of the last city farm, the most curious wind, and an exceptional girl by the name of Francesca Finnegan.

When we first encounter Richard K. Lyons, he is a man who has long forgotten the one night, when he was still a boy called Rich, when Francesca invited him aboard the secret L for an adventure though the East Side. The night was a mad epic, complete with gravity-defying first kisses, mermaid overdoses, and princess rescues. Unfortunately for Rich, the night ended like one of those elusive dreams forgotten the moment you wake. Now, Rich is all grown up and out of childish adventures, an adult whose life is on the verge of ruin. It will take the rediscovery of his exploits with Francesca, and a reacquaintance with the boy he once was, to save him.


The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan Interview

  • When and how did you know you were a writer? Did any books help you along the way?   I think storytellers are just born that way.  I don’t remember having a moment where I said, “I want to be a writer.”  I’ve just always like to tell stories.  For this book, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland helped the most.  I wanted a Wonderland for Chicago.  Chicago needs a Wonderland, badly.
  • Writers often have colorful histories and discarded careers along the way. What was your favorite past job? If you weren’t writing what else can you picture yourself doing and why?   Favorite past job is difficult. I’ve hated most jobs I’ve had.  I’ll say college lifeguard (part-time), because after work we’d party and swim and nothing is better than partying and swimming, for a college kid at least.  If I weren’t writing I wouldn’t be happy –  I’d have to do something writing related.  I was a managerial consultant for years, and I wrote all day in that job.  I was the ‘writer’ guy.  Whenever we had a writing job it was mine.  So, if I wasn’t writing, I wouldn’t be happy.
  • The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan has some very distinctive, eye catching illustrations. What made you decide to include pictures and how did you go about finding an artist to bring them to life?   I didn’t decide on illustrations until after I’d finished the story.  After I’d finished, I realized the book could really be strengthened with pictures.  And so, one night at a party I met my future illustrator.  I didn’t know he was an artist, but we started talking about art, and I showed him the background on my iPhone, which was El Greco’s View of Toledo (Google it if you don’t know it!), and the rest is history.  He did an amazing job.  I was just super lucky to have bumped into him at this party for a mutual friend. 


Funny you should bring up that particular painting- it is one of my all-time favorites! Bravo!

  • Can you share one resource: website, marketing strategy, social media medium that you feel has most helped you and could help other writers on their way?   We’re  donating half of the profits from this book to Chicago Public Schools.  That little fact has gotten the book a lot of favorable attention.  I was recently featured on WGN Radio here in Chicago, and that was something they wanted to talk about.  So, I think authors should consider strategic partnerships to help sell their books. 
  • What do you wish your readers could know about you?  I would defer that question to the readers.  There isn’t anything I’m dying for people to know about me, but I’ll throw some interesting facts out there for this interview: I once swam through Buckingham Fountain on a dare (in the middle of the day), my wife has reported me missing (like Richard in the book), and my mother was a nun.  That’s a start!
  • Do you have any new projects in the works? What should we be eagerly anticipating from Steve Wiley?  I’m all marketing all the time lately.  I’ll start my next project likely in 2018, once the smoke has cleared from this book.  Expect the unexpected, in the form of a book.
  • Who’s your favorite super hero and why?  I’m a Wolverine guy.  The more flaws in the super hero the better.  Perfect characters just aren’t as interesting. 
  • Favorite meal, health concerns and calories aside, if you could just enjoy anything what would it be?  Oh, easy question.  Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza and a coke, last meal every time.  That’s probably the answer half of Chicago would give you.
  • Please share three things you have NOT done yet on your Bucket List. 1) Write a story for my son 2) DMT 3) Write a story for my wife
  • And lastly… what is your favorite reward after a long day of writing—that little treat you give yourself?  Book and a beer!  I like reading and drinking, but only after I’m done playing with the kids, and have gotten them to bed. 

Author Bio

Steve Wiley, Author

Steve is a father, husband, uncle, brother, friend, and purveyor of fairy stories. He grew up in and around Chicagoland, where he still lives with his wife and two kids. He has been published in an array of strange and serious places, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., to Crannóg magazine in Galway, Ireland. This is his first book. He has an undergraduate degree in something he has forgotten from Illinois State University and a graduate degree in something equally forgotten from DePaul University. You can email Steve at, or visit thewileymancan on Instagram.


This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.





Okay, Fantasy fans- buckle up!!! I’ve got a fun new series for you and you are going to LOVE it! Yep, you’re welcome…


Lizard Queen Volume 1

300 years ago, in a nameless world, a prophecy passed unfulfilled. A secret society that formed to prevent its occurrence believed it was their doing, while the secret society created to ensure that the prophecy came to pass wasn’t certain it had been stopped at all. Eventually, the prophecy of Lacáruna, a female from another realm and the only being who can read the Lizard Queen’s language, fell into legend.  What no one realizes, however, is that Amy Darlidale is just a tad late.



Taking a break from a stressful workweek, Amy, a recently divorced CEO, goes out for a morning jog and crosses paths with an orange lizard. Suddenly, she finds herself under a starless sky confronted by oddly marked and strangely colored people who claim she’s there to rescue the world from evil’s grasp and expand it once again. But not everyone wants that to happen so there’s a price on her head. This is far from the relaxing weekend Amy had intended.



Along with the young companions who found her, Licha and Jandro, Amy has accompanied the swaggering Colonel Dack Sangcertigre—a member of the Trotéjo, the secret society sworn to protect her—to his home nation in search of a plan to fulfill the Promise of a New Morphósis. As the body count rises and she is confronted with raving rulers, military machinations, and crafty clergy, she quickly realizes there must be much more at stake than merely finding the prophecy.



The sense of order in this mysterious world continues to collapse. Fires rage, clans are being slaughtered and townsfolk massacred, and leaders have proclaimed a great evil has returned. As Amy searches for clues within the first mythic journals of this world’s origins, she’s begun seeing visions and receiving messages from forces unknown. While she’s trying to understand the extent of her power others have become aware of it as well. Soon a new group with its own mysterious agenda believes Amy may have another fated purpose and only she can save herself from their terrifying trap.


A huge thank you to H.L. Cherryholmes for appearing on this blog- I am super excited to have such an innovative and fresh author to showcase. Hope my readers enjoy this interview just as much as I did…


Easy stuff first- tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you begin writing? What fills your life and lights up your days?


Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico but I’ve lived in Southern California most of my adult life. I started writing when I was very young, mostly to entertain family and neighbors. About that time I also learned to change the names to protect the innocent. Storytelling has always been important to me and I’m never as happy as I am when I’m in the thick of writing a story. Even editing makes me happy.

Your books begin in our ordinary world and take us to new world “under a starless sky.” How does each world color and shape your protagonist, Amy Darlidale?


In our world, Amy is a CEO of a non-profit company. She’s recently divorced and just celebrated her fortieth birthday. She is fairly content and, most importantly, feels entirely in control of her life. When she finds herself under the starless sky she’s completely out of her element and feeling at a loss. Nevertheless, she’s still the same strong woman and works hard to take charge of her new predicament.



How has each world, real and imaginary shaped you as a storyteller?


The imaginary world is very much shaped by my real world experiences, particularly my travels. Amy keeps discovering places and things that are very familiar to her, albeit not exactly the same. It’s been so much fun to incorporate places I’ve visited into my writing. I think it’s made me a better storyteller because it’s taken me out of my comfort zone, which pretty much is my apartment.


Can you tell us a bit about your publishing process? Are you agented? Self-published? How did your book come into being?


I’m an indie-writer. I spent many frustrating years trying to go the traditional route by getting an agent and one day I decided that what was most important to me was having my stories read. Self-publishing a book is so incredibly easy these days, which is why more and more authors are going that route. My series came into being when I decided that’s what I was going to do. I chose to wait until the entire series was done, however, before releasing the first two books.



What were the benefits and challenges that you found along your journey? And do you have any words of advice for your fellow writers- things to do? Pitfalls to avoid?


The benefit for me was being able to work the entire story out before anyone read it. That was also the biggest challenge. As I’m sure any author will tell you, it’s a lonely vocation often and the only validation you get is what you chose to give yourself. One word of advice—the most important, in my opinion—is you must have a professional editor. Thinking you can shape everything on your own is the biggest pitfall to avoid.



Where do you find your sources of inspiration? Does your muse vary from project to project or do you find the well-spring is fairly consistent?


Inspiration most often comes from something I’ve read or watched, or even overheard. Usually it’s just a spark of an idea that pops up and either I’ll pursue it or tell myself I should write it down to look at later but then decide I’ll surely remember it. That’s when the muse snatches it away. You’d think I’d learn, but no.



Have you learned anything from your readers? Or had a response that especially touched you?


What has touched me and meant the most to me are any of the readers who have gone along (or are going along) Amy’s journey. Reading a series is a serious (see what I did there?) commitment so I greatly appreciate anyone who is willing to take it on. Hearing that they’ve loved how the story ends has been especially satisfying.




We all have our fan boy (or in my case, fan girl) moments. If you could get your books of anyone, celebrity, historical figure, etc. who would you choose to have read them? Please share one man and one woman and why.


Anne Rice and Stephen King and both for the same reason: They are master world-builders and both appreciate a strong female protagonist.



Do you have a favorite book that you wish you had written? What is it and why do you wish you had created it?


I can’t say that I do. I love stories and I’m the type of person that goes into any story, be it on the page or on the screen, with an open mind and heart, ready to follow what tale I’ve been offered. I do my best to keep myself out of it and just let it be what it is.



We all reward ourselves with little treats- after a particularly productive day- what is your favorite indulgence? I’m always looking for a new treat!


When I finish a draft of a book my favorite indulgence is a cupcake with buttercream frosting from Magnolia Bakery. And a vodka martini. Not necessarily in that order and never together.



Author Bio

H.L. Cherryholmes, author of The Lizard Queen Series, Come Back for Me, and A Slight Touch was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico but has spent most of his adult life in Southern California. He has a BFA from University of New Mexico and a Master’s degree in Playwriting from the University of California, Los Angeles. Currently, he lives in Los Angeles and Palm Springs with his husband, Ron Cogan.




Amazon Author Page:



This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.


Dragons rock coffee’s ass. Seriously. No, really, hear me out. I’m embarking on a blog tour with the fabulous Goddess Fish Productions. So this is important. The reason being for the duration of the tour YOU can purchase my novel on Amazon for 0.99. You can’t get coffee that cheap. True story.

Please see the reviews and then purchase the adventure your summer is begging for 🙂

I don’t mark my book down very often, I think that this is the third time since it was released in February. You put something on sale too often and the whole “sale” thing loses its mojo. That said, it’s on sale this whole week! And it’s sooooooo better than a cup of coffee!!!

Here’s why…

1.) Flaming dragon breath- gives everything that longed for grilled taste. Not mention, so handy on chilly evenings,

2.) Coffee gives you bad breath! According to my fellow author, Wendy Spinale, one does not need a mint after spending time with a dragon. The same cannot be said about our clever little java cups of “joy.”

3.) You always hear it, coffee makes you jittery.

4.) Okay, dragons may make you jittery, too. Fair enough. But not MY DRAGONS. They are the champions of mankind. In this book that’s all you know… but in books two and three we see WHY dragons champion mankind… could we be… related? I know… one’s a mammal, one’s a lizard, but we’re talking about more than meets the eye. Never judge a hero by their cover.

5.) Kids love Dragons. Hello? Did no one listen to Puff The Magic Dragon?


6.) Coffee involves child labor. Fairly certain that’s illegal in the land of Honnah Lee

That’s… icky. And I’m NOT making light of child labor- not EVER. I am just saying though. Dragons are better. No child labor. Promise.

7.) Dragons are shiny. Shiny is better. Ohh, squirrel!

8.) Now, coffee? Coffee is not shiny.

9.) You never need to “grind” a dragon.  In fact, I strenuously advocate against it. That said, you do need to grind coffee. So much work.

10.) Everyone is trying to go green. Coffee is not green. Daisy from The Dragon in The Garden IS green.  Soooo eco-friendly! See picture for proof.


Note- GREEN Dragon.

Mic drop. BOOM!

Please check out The Dragon in The Garden

Sooooo… that happened.



 This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.


Just a quick shout out to my talented Tirgearr author friends! I hope that you all enjoyed their posts and the excerpts from their books. It’s always fun to learn about new books. Just to review, here they are and what they write.

On Friday we were treated to Elizabeth Delisi.


She is the author of the romance, Fatal Fortune.


Saturday found us in Paris enjoying the romance of Kristi Ahlers.


She writes beautiful romances like The Trouble With Paris .



On Sunday we were treated to an excerpt of Troy Lambert’s thriller Stray Ally:


And here’s a look at Troy Lambert, the author himself.



Finally, there’s my little side show 🙂


If you have already downloaded Dragon, please remember to review it for me. It does NOT need to be a long review- just a rating and a couple of sentences would be a huge help 🙂 Haven’t purchased it yet? What are you waiting for?- Laughs! Just click on the link below purchase your Kindle, Nook, Kobe, Apple, or Smashwords copy now. Thank you, Cyber Peeps!



This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.



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