It’s such a pleasure to be here today. Thank you for inviting me.
Please tell us about your current release.
Gypsy Crystal is a paranormal/thriller/romance that takes place in my area. Rita is a homicide detective of pure Roma heritage. Her mother, Anna, is a great seer and together with Anna’s brother, Dragus, they own The Gypsy Tea Room within a themed touristy mall.
Because of Rita’s chosen profession, Anna has given Rita a star-shaped crystal amulet to wear for protection, one that has been handed down through their maternal bloodline.
The amulet has mystical powers. Other than warning Rita of danger, it also allows her to see through a corpse’s dead eyes, the last image he saw before death. Rita keeps the amulet’s power a secret, only her family and Chief Lipinski know of her ability.
A serial killer the newspapers have dubbed “The Ripper” invades her town targeting prostitutes. Suddenly, Rita’s amulet stops working. Confused, she seeks her mother’s council. She receives no satisfactory answers as to why.
FBI Agent Matt Boulet has followed the killer’s trail of kills north from New Orleans and leads the task force. He is keeping secrets from the force and gives them odd orders. Rita is distrustful of Matt, but can’t fight her growing attraction to the man.
When Anna tells Rita and Matt more about the lore of her clan, Rita is shocked and finds the news hard to swallow.
Together, using gypsy magic, they hunt The Ripper on the most dangerous manhunt of their lives.
What inspired you to write this book?
All the buzz about the paranormal field. You read it, see it in the movies and on TV.
I write in many genres and I like to spread my wings. When I met a gypsy fortune teller at an impromptu lunch date, I made use of her talents. She was a very nice lady and the session proved to be fun. She sort of stuck in my head. That night I did a little research on the Romani people and their folklore. I got sucked right in. I was enrapt with what wonderful people of the earth they are and the mysticism surrounding their origins. The fortune teller became Anna, Rita’s mother, in my novella. And let me tell you folks, Anna has a strong antenna with her ESP. So much so that it annoys Rita at times.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I have a few “starts” in the works. I may put them aside for a bit. I’d hate to let all those hours of research into the Romani go to waste. Like most authors I’ll probably write another gypsy tale since I’m so entrenched into the history and folklore.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That is a hard question. I only considered myself a writer when I sold my first short story. I believe anyone can write if they choose to, be it diary, plays, thoughts, stories. But do you consider yourself a writer for just writing? My own personal opinion is, I think the true test is, do others enjoy your writing? Is it good enough that an editor thinks a target readership will enjoy the story and the way it is written? When that happened, when my first story was picked up—a horror by the way—then I considered myself a writer. I think that was around eight years ago.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t have a day job per se. But, I do have a full time job of family and care-giving for a family member. As all know, care-giving is not an easy job. It’s a constant up and down, doctor visits, feeding, and all the little tasks that go into caring for an older loved one.
So, I write in spurts. I do like to find a solid two hours a day to sit and concentrate, but real life has a habit of interfering. And to be honest, I’m too tired at night to get the mental synapses firing just right. So, it’s write when I can.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Moi? Have quirks? None. Absolutely none. Do you believe me?
To be honest—again—I probably have plenty, but I don’t know what they are. Is it that I consume gallons of tea while I write? Or when I reach a difficult scene that I can’t nail, I get out of my chair and walk around the house muttering to myself? Hmm. I guess we can call them quirks.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
First a motorcycle cop. I think I was about five years old. I thought motorcycles were cool. Then I wanted to be a cowboy. At that little older age, horses had become cool. After graduating high school, and being all grown up, lol, I wanted to get into the ballroom dancing field. I did. And that was really cool.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I want to tell the readers that without my wonderful critique partners, my getting published would not have become a reality. How wonderful they are to be brutally honest, offer their fresh eyes, and to give me so much help and direction. I only hope I do as much for them.
Let me offer a blurb and excerpt of Gypsy Crystal to tempt your interest.
Rita Moldova’s best-kept secret, a crystal amulet that shows her the last image a victim had seen when they died and has helped propel her career as a homicide detective – until prostitutes start dropping.
A ritual killer dubbed the Ripper by the media is terrorizing her town and it’s Rita’s job to help end his killing spree. The problem – Rita’s mystical amulet, passed down through her Roma bloodline, has failed for the first time in memory to do its job – and it’s making it a real bitch for Rita to do hers.
To make matters worse, the FBI has sent in hunky agent, Matt Boulet, to lead the case – and Rita finds herself attracted to him.
When Rita visits her mother – a gifted seer in her own right – and her uncle to glean what she can about the history of the amulet and the lore of their clan, she learns much more than she bargained for, and the truth is too much for her to swallow.
As the investigation continues, Rita learns she can’t deny the lore of the ancients, or her growing feelings for Matt Boulet.
Excerpt and part of the first page.
Detective Rita Moldova peeked around the corner to make sure the hallway was empty. Making a quick right turn, she slipped into the autopsy lab to have a few minutes alone with the body. She tucked her white shirt tighter into her jeans and zipped her windbreaker to stay warm in the chilly room. The harsh odor of formaldehyde hit her nostrils and stung her throat.
Her heart twisted at the sight of the young, auburn-haired woman lying on the stainless steel table. A white sheet covered her to the navel; bruises blemished the once pretty face. Contusions marred the pallid skin from elbow to shoulder. The gash on the front of her neck gaped, exposing open veins and torn tissue.
Rita flipped her thick, dark braid back over her shoulder, snapped on one latex glove, leaned over the corpse, and peeled back an eyelid. In her bare hand, she clasped a star-shaped crystal hanging from the gold chain around her neck, an endowment from her maternal Roma bloodline. The crystal heated in her palm, warm energy pulsing up her arm to her shoulder. The face captured in the victim’s eye coalesced and stared back. Rita drew in a sharp breath. Bobby Driscoll! She had known him since high school, and now he worked as a uniform in her precinct. What the hell was going on?
For more info, and to read the fab reviews about Gypsy Crystal, please visit my website at http://struiff.wordpress.com/
Gypsy Crystal is available in print and e-book formats at Amazon.
Please join me on my next tour stop at http://www.paulazone.blogdrive.com on July 19th. I’d love to see you there.
Lorrie Unites-Struiff lives in West Mifflin, twenty minutes by parkway to downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has two grown daughters who have left the nest but not her heart.
Lorrie is the founder of the Waterfront Writer’s Workshop in her area, and after seven years has passed the baton to allow her more time for writing. She has many short stories published and is now working on her next project.
Thank you for your time today, Lorrie, and sharing so much with the readers.
Readers, leave a comment to be entered into a drawing to win one of several gifts from promoter of this VBT, BK Walker. Gifts include: a $25 Visa Gift Card, book light,a free-of-charge virtual book tour, or one writing package which includes a journal, pen, book light, and book marker.
My next visitor for this virtual book tour is Tasha Nicole on July 19.