Friday, March 24, 2017

"The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan" by Steve Wiley

The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan
by Steve Wiley

The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan by Steve Wiley is currently on tour with Enchanted Book Promotions. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

"Did you know most anything that matters in this city was built by magic before it was built by men? Of course you didn’t. This city is different from other cities. The true history of it is unpublished. Lucky for you, I know it all by heart." ~ Francesca Finnegan
In Chicago, a secret L train runs through the mythical East Side ofthe 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.
Note: Half of the proceeds from this book are donated to Chicago Public Schools.

There is magic in the city.
When Rich Lyons was a little boy, he learned of the magic from an old, cockeyed, Captain Hook–looking magician. The old man sat alone at a table for two outside a neighborhood bar every summer day, all day, always with a glass of twinkling whiskey. He said the twinkle had once been in his eye, but had blown out one windy day and splashed right into the whiskey. Rich liked how the twinkle twinkled in the whiskey. He liked it so much, he asked the old man if he could have it. The man told Rich he didn’t need it, because he already had a twinkle of his own, and besides, that particular twinkling whiskey tasted like shit, worse than Malört[1], if that’s possible.
“You be careful,” the old man warned, “because in the city of wind, a twinkle may blow out. The wind here, it twirls and sings like a music-box ballerina. It plays tricks and tells stories like an old-man magician. Like me, like this …”
And so, the old man performed tricks for Rich and regaled him with city folklore and fantasy. He said the Great Chicago Fire was arson, started by a fire-breathing dragon from the Fulton River District who was fed up with the cold winters. He said the Chicago River started flowing backward when a giant sea serpent sneezed so powerfully, it changed the direction of the current. He said the sky was purple (not black) above the city because a wicked witch had stolen all the black for her cats and bats and witch hats.
Rich’s favorite story was one about the L trains, and how each had come to be named for a color. The old man said the colors arrived when the first skyscrapers did. Before then, all the trains were the same dull brown. On the day the first skyscraper went up, a rainbow, unused to encountering buildings so high in the sky, accidentally crashed into it. When the rainbow crashed, each of its individual colors went splattering in all directions. Some landed on the L trains and stained them. The only train to miss a color was the Brown Line, because, the old man said, it was offline for repairs.
The old man also said there was one line, a secret line, that got a splash of lavender.
One day, Rich asked the old man if he could use his magic to tell fortunes. The old man said, well, hell, of course he could, it was a matter of simple city magic. Rich asked if he might hear his own fortune. He wanted to know what he would be when he grew up.
The old man told Rich there wasn’t much he wouldn’t be when he grew up. He would be a father, a husband, an uncle, a brother, a friend. He would be a ghost in the graveyard. He would be a vice president of something. He would be a pisser in the pancake batter. He would be a reveler-adventurer. He would be a hider and seeker. He would be a rocket man. A businessman.
And, he would be a rich man.

[1] Disgusting alcoholic spirit, occupied by the evil spirit of a bootlegger, who was bootlegged himself. Available only in Chicago.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"This is a book for intelligent adult readers who love a playful escape into teenage fantasies of fleeting first kisses, exceptional Ferris wheels, extraordinary cocktails, and a castle that has the sky's stars for a ceiling." ~ Publishers Weekly
"Filled with clever rhymes and plays on words, the prose itself is pure fun. Witty, humorous, and at times profound, the tone is true to its fairytale style. And like all good fairytales, it teaches a lesson - one that older readers are sure to benefit from." ~ Indie Reader
"There are just enough obscenities uttered to ensure this book is never shelved in the children’s or even young adult section. The story, though, is anything but vulgar, a sweet and uplifting tale as heartwarming as the ones it’s poking fun at." ~ Kirkus Reviews
"Twists on Chicago history and fantastical insights into uniquely Chicago phenomenon, such as the reason Malort tastes so bad, make for an entrancingly magical journey that's half Midwestern Miyazaki, half Mad Men, and all Windy City." ~ Windy City Reviews
"The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan is an imaginative, modern-day adventure-fantasy for readers of all ages. Offering a view askew of the mundane and the magical, The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan is a lighthearted joy to read, highly recommended!" ~ Midwest Book Review

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
Richard Lyons may be rich, but he's not happy. He's going through life like a zombie. But then, one Friday night, he meets a girl who tells fairy tales in the street. An accidental bump to the head later, and so begin the adventures of Rich Lyons through Francesca Finnegan's fairytale Chicago.
I was captivated from the opening line - "There is magic in the city." - which sets the tone for this magical story that reads like a modern, original fairy tale. It's a charming, whimsical, alternate history of Chicago, complete with funny footnotes, nonsense verse, and cute illustrations (by Chris Cihon). Fragments of things Richard saw before he becomes unconscious, manifest themselves in his adventures. In this respect, the book is reminiscent of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Take a trip with Rich on the mythical Lavender Line through Chicago's non-existent East Side. You'll meet real-life historical figures, as well as fairytale creatures such as the house-cat train conductor, Queen Billy Boyle, Templeton the elf, Thumbelina, Lucy the mermaid, the Grand Duke of Rhine Falls, Mr. Fox, and - of course - the blue-haired Francesca Finnegan. You'll be regaled with tales (look out, it's contagious!) of old Chicago landmarks: the last city farm, Dunning Mental Hospital, Riverview Amusement park, the Green Mill cocktail lounge, Aragon castle, and the abandoned Chicago cable car tunnels.
You'll learn how the Windy City got its name, the cause of the Great Chicago Fire, the origin of the infamous Chicago liqueur Malört, the true events of the Saint Valentine's Day massacre, the legend of footballer George Gipp, the origin of the city's flag, why the Chicago River flows backwards, the story of John Kinzie and the Polish Potawatomi, the origin of Chicago's name, the story of the Dearborn Massacre, the phenomenon of the Chicago River turning green, the cause of the lightening of the Chicago night sky, the origin of Chicago's mermaid statue, and how the Aragon Ballroom came to have its star-studded ceiling.
Along the way, Richard regains some of the magic of his youth - and so will you. A wonderful, satisfying fairy tale for adults.

"Asking how to get anyvere on zis map is like asking vere to fall down a rabbit hole, or how to valk srough a looking glass." ~ The Grand Duke of Rhine Falls

Some of My Favorite Lines
"As a man, spirits were drunk and not dreamed. He snorted pixie dust, and while it made him high, he could never truly fly."
"It was the moment between afternoon and evening when the moon and sun swapped ownership of the sky."
"The Brown Line is one of those color-coded trains that make up the greater Chicago L system, coursing through the city’s anatomy like old-man blood vessels, clumsily pumping life in and out of the loop at the city’s heart."
"Jerking off with a cold is like reading a book upside down. You can start, but never finish, and there is no satisfaction in the endeavor.”
"The rain covered Rich’s face and seeped in his mouth and dripped down his throat. It tasted sweet as soda, and when Rich swallowed it, he was positive he’d live forever. It was the second-to-last time rain would make him feel like that."

About the Author
Steve Wiley 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. Follow him on Goodreads and Instagram.

About the Illustrator
Chris Cihon is an artist who studied at Columbia College Chicago. He is a Chicago native and has lived here all his life. Chris’s paintings have been showcased in many local galleries and beyond. When he feels like it, he travels elsewhere to find inspiration. Follow him on Instagram.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a hardcover or ebook copy of The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan by Steve Wiley.

Book Links

Thursday, March 23, 2017

"The Last Sin" by K. L. Murphy

The Last Sin
(Detective Cancini Mystery Book 3)
by K. L. Murphy

The Last Sin is the third book in the Detective Cancini Mystery series by K. L. Murphy. Also available: A Guilty Mind and Stay of Execution.

The Last Sin is currently on tour with Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Forgive me father, for I have sinned ...
Detective Mike Cancini has seen dark days as a homicide detective in Washington, D.C. But even he is shocked when a charismatic young priest is found shot through the eye on the altar of his own church. As Cancini investigates, he uncovers long-buried secrets from the man’s past, and it becomes clear that the church was not as holy as it seemed.
When another priest is attacked, Cancini refuses to believe it’s a coincidence, and his frustration grows as his search is blocked at every turn by inflexible priests and cagey church employees. The resolute detective must unravel the web of lies before more people are hurt, but how can he find a murderer when no one is innocent, and everyone’s a sinner?

Sunday, February 21st: The Day Of
The smell of incense lingered in the air, temporarily masking the odor of rotting wood. Father Matthew Holland inhaled. The bitter scent stung his nose. Three years had passed since he’d taken over the church and nothing had changed. Even with the increased attendance and community outreach, the church offerings remained meager. Without offerings—without money—the parish church would die.
The priest sat down on the front pew, his robes gathered around his feet. His gaze shifted to the empty pulpit. Two large and colorful plants graced the altar, but they weren’t enough to hide the worn carpet or faded paintings, nor could the soft candlelight make him forget the plywood that covered the cracked stained glass. There was so much to do, so much need. He sighed and looked to the cross over the altar. Not for the first time, he asked for forgiveness, for understanding. There would be money now—he’d made sure of that—but at what cost? He’d done it for the church. His pulse quickened and his stomach clenched. Bending forward, he forced himself to take one deep breath after another until the moment passed.
He loosened his cleric collar and yawned. The evening’s mass had been long and difficult. The drunks in the back of the church had refused to leave, in spite of the old deacons' best efforts.
“S'our right to be here,” the man with the long, stringy hair had said. His words slurred, he’d leaned forward as though he might topple straight into the next pew. “Worshipin’ God,” he'd said, although it had sounded like something else judging by the gasps from the congregation. The drunk had pointed a dirty hand toward the altar. “Here to see Father Holland. Tol' us to come anytime.”
The drunk had swayed again, and his companion had reached out with a strong arm to catch him. Father Holland’s mouth had gone dry at the sight of the tattoo on the man’s forearm—a black dagger plunged into a white skull. Three drops of blood extended in a single line from the tip of the dagger to the man’s wrist. He knew that tattoo, knew what it meant.
The awkward moment had passed although not before Father Holland caught the disdain on the faces of the ladies in the choir. Still, none of the parishioners had said a word, all looking to him instead. He’d hidden his trembling hands in the folds of the heavy cassock and swallowed. “St. William is open to everyone, our members and our guests. However, since we are about to have communion, I would ask that everyone who is not singing remain quiet. Guests may come forward for a blessing, of course.” He'd been careful to keep his voice steady. Thank the Lord it had been enough. The man with the oily hair had quieted down and then stumbled out during the Eucharist. His friend with the tattoo had stayed a moment longer, then followed.
Silence filled the sanctuary now. Father Holland rubbed his hands together and shivered. He could still feel the cold eyes of the tattooed man and the curious glances from the congregation. The man’s presence at the evening mass had been no accident and no drunken whim. The message had been clear.
After the church had emptied, he’d walked to the corner market and made the call. He’d done the best he could. Money changed everything. It always did. He opened his hand and stared at the crumpled paper with the phone number. He was not a stupid man. Nothing came without a price. He murmured a prayer until his shoulders relaxed and the drumbeat of his heart slowed.
His stomach growled, the gurgling loud and rumbly, and he realized it had been hours since he’d eaten. Breaking the quiet, a sound came from the back of the church, a click and a swish as the heavy outer door swung open. He stood and smoothed his cassock. Dinner would have to wait. He strained to see, but the vestibule was dark. “Who's there?” he asked.
The door clanged shut and heavy steps sounded on the dingy marble floor. Father Holland replaced his collar and ran his fingers through his hair. There was only silence. The hair on the back of his neck prickled. “Is somebody there?” he asked again.
A figure shrouded in black stepped out of the dark.
Father Holland stiffened. “Why are you here?”
From the shadows, the eyes of the visitor glittered in the candlelight. “I’m a sinner, Father.”
Father Holland’s shoulders slumped. “We are all sinners in God's eyes.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"I enjoyed this novel of police procedure. Cancini is a detective with his own issues in this story. The second priest attacked is a good friend of his and the investigation is almost compromised because of the relationship. Cancini struggles with the thought that his old friend might somehow be involved. And that brings up an interesting aspect of the mystery. The old priest had been the confessor for the murdered priest. Even if he knew truths that would help Cancini solve the case, the old priest was bound by his orders to not reveal confessions. I appreciated how Murphy wove this concept into the plot and used it to make the investigation more complex. Flashbacks were used to give readers the background leading up to the murder. That was done well. There were plenty of suspects and motives to keep readers interested in the investigation to the very end. I recommend this novel to readers who enjoy a novel that works through a complex police procedure in unraveling the truth about a murder. There is really no suspense. There is much thinking through of the clues and following up leads, the strength of the novel." ~ Joan N.

Guest Post by the Author
The Story Behind the Story: The Last Sin
Inspiration can strike a writer unexpectedly. It can come from a random news article or a radio story or from a man walking down the street who sparks an idea. Authors are often asked where they get their ideas and sometimes there is no easy or identifiable answer. However, if asked about the third book in my Detective Cancini Mystery series, The Last Sin, I actually have something to say!
A few years ago, I heard a story that got my attention. The story was about an older priest I knew - although he could more accurately be described as a friend of a friend back then. I knew the priest as a charismatic and distinguished man, the type of man that commands respect whether standing at the pulpit or seated at the dinner table. He was a strong leader, decisive, determined, and likable. Unfortunately, according to the story, one of his parishioners liked him a little too much. She began to write him letters. She appeared in the church offices for no real reason. She resorted to low level stalking to be around him as often as possible. Naturally, this made him uncomfortable, but he was unsure what to do about it. When I heard this story, I immediately decided I would use it in some way. Unlike pastors of other faiths, I knew that Catholic priests must remain unmarried and celibate. That is hard for most anyone. I imagined that would be even harder for a priest when it was apparent that a woman was infatuated with him. How would a man/priest handle that?
In the real-life story, things worked themselves out without any difficulty. The priest was transferred to another parish in another city and there was no harm done. Knowing the priest, he probably remained as polite to her as possible without encouraging her in any way. However, I did wonder what might have happened had he not been transferred and her obsession had escalated. Light bulbs went off in my brain and I conjured up all kinds of scenarios. One of those inspired a character and plot line in The Last Sin.
While the plot of The Last Sin is completely fictional - as is every character - there is a thread of “truth” woven into the story. That “truth” is the role of the Catholic Church and its influence on many of the characters. Father Holland and Father Joe are obvious in that they share a faith and devotion in service to God. Still, they are not the same. The younger priest is ambitious and impatient. He wants to grow his parish, renovate the building, and clean up the neighborhood. He has lofty goals that go beyond his role as priest. Yet, it is the Church that grounds him.
Most people don’t think of the Catholic Church when they think of fire and brimstone sermons or singing choirs. There’s a good reason for that. The Catholic religion is long on tradition and ritual. For some, that may be stifling, but for others, it offers comfort and security. The sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) is one of those rituals and plays a key role in The Last Sin. What intrigued me about the sacrament, however, was the similarity of the priest-confessor relationship to that of doctor-patient. The concept of privacy is essentially the same, yet under church doctrine, the sacrament of Reconciliation can never be broken. In this small excerpt from The Last Sin, Cancini attempts to explain the binding laws of the sacrament to Captain Martin. They are discussing young Father Holland’s confessional conversations with Father Joe.
“According to papal law, the sacrament of reconciliation is absolute. If someone comes in to confess their sins, they have to know that nothing they say will ever leave the confessional.”
“This is different. It’s a murder investigation. There must be exceptions.”
Martin’s face flushed pink. “We can subpoena him.”
“It won’t matter. Look, let’s say someone walks into the confessional and tells the priest he is planning to kill his wife that day. He tells him everything, how he’s going to do it, when he’s going to do it, even why he’s going to do it. The priest can try to talk the man out of it. He can try to get the man to go to the police. But he can never tell a soul. The best he can do is alert the police that the woman might be in danger, and even that can be tricky.”
“That’s crazy. He’d have an obligation to tell the police, wouldn’t he?”
“No. His obligation is to uphold the sacrament. You can’t reveal anything you’ve ever heard, even ten years, twenty years later.”
It may sound crazy to non-Catholics, but under the laws of the church, it’s anything but crazy. It’s an extension of the parishioner’s relationship with God. This concept is why priests also go to confession, to unburden their sins and be closer to God. In The Last Sin, I wanted to respect the ritual, but I also used it to create a situation where the police suspect Father Joe knows far more than he is willing to tell.
I also like to incorporate something real in the settings of each novel. In The Last Sin, I used Barry Farm, a true-life low income housing development that has since been condemned. The setting and the neighborhood are a big part of who Father Holland is as well as why Carlos Vega is the man he is. Of course, most everything else that happens in The Last Sin is just my imagination running wild. Where do I get my ideas? For this third novel in the series: a pinch of gossip, a snippet of reality, and a whole lot of “I wish I knew!”

About the Author
K. L. Murphy was born in Key West, Florida, the eldest of four children in a military family. She has worked as a freelance writer for several regional publications in Virginia, and is the author of A Guilty Mind, Stay of Execution, and The Last Sin. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband, four children, and two very large, very hairy dogs.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of three ebook copies of The Last Sin by K. L. Murphy (gifted via Bluefire Reader).


"A Trinity of Wicked Tales Volume One: Jilted Love" by Kyla Ross

A Trinity of Wicked Tales
Volume One: Jilted Love
by Kyla Ross

A Trinity of Wicked Tales Volume One: Jilted Love by Kyla Ross is FREE from 23 to 27 March. The author stops by today for an interview and to share an excerpt. You can also read my review.

Desperation. Suspicion. Selfishness.
In this collection of dark tales lives will be savagely twisted, inner demons will be reawakened and deception will reign supreme. A quest for a fix turns bloody for two heroin addicts as their vicious endeavors land them into a gruesome pitfall. A marketing executive and car salesmen are deceived by the ones they love. Armed with rage, they set out to slaughter those responsible.

Excerpt from "Irises"
She was losing control of her love life once again, and what was more important than that? Natalie began to rock back and forth, her hip rubbing against the granite counter top. She tried to take control of her breathing, but this proved unsuccessful. She began to sob uncontrollably.
Natalie pushed herself away from the counter and hurried into the living room, where her smartphone rested on the suede love seat. She snatched it up and called Jason as she made her way back into the kitchen. No answer. Natalie threw her phone into the granite kitchen wall. The stone took the phone and smashed it to pieces.
Natalie began to pace back and forth from counter to counter, digging the heels of her bare feet into the marble tile.
“I vowed to never let a fucking man make me lose my mind again!” she yelled. Natalie grabbed the bottle of wine and shoved the spout against her lips. She desperately sucked the remaining liquid down her throat, nearly drowning herself in her haste. She looked at the sterling silver wall clock. 11:19.
She slammed the bottle on the counter. She opened her hands and rested them on her face, then pulled them down slowly, swiping away the tears and smeared mascara. Her blood pressure continued to rise as her body shook. She felt a jolt of anxiety and confusion go through her chest. She took another deep breath and abruptly exhaled. She looked around the kitchen.
He would risk all of this, she thought.
As she continued to survey the kitchen, her eyes fell upon the gourmet knife rack. She inched towards it and caressed the wooden handle of the meat clever. She slowly pulled it out. The sound of the cleaver shearing against the wood was eerily refreshing. She looked at her reflection in the meat cleaver and said, “You won’t have your cake and eat it, too. You won’t have anything. If you hurt me, I will hurt you more.”
She smiled maniacally, her eyes gleaming. She tilted the knife, concentrating on the streaks of mascara running down her cheek, the eyeliner that covered small segments between her eyelashes and eyelids; most of it had been washed away. She admired her deep green eyes and the red lock that rested upon the side of her perfectly round shaped face. Her self-loathing was interrupted when she heard keys enter the keyhole of the front door. She briskly walked to the front door to see Jason enter. He reeked of irises.
[Want more? Click below to read another excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"Deranged characters. Deception and twisted horror. Three dark tales with murderous endings. I enjoyed this book, look forward to vol. 2." ~ Rita Hyland
"It was good. The first story made my mouth drop. The second story, had me like wow. Yes I loved it, no joke. It was like I can picture the events happening in the story. The last one was out cold." ~ Lula Farris
"It was an awesome collection of short stories. I loved the suspense that the author gave, it was really chilling which makes it more fun to read. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves gruesome short stories. Read this compilation." ~ KyraLowry
"I enjoyed every twist and turn in each of the short stories in A Trinity of Wicked Tales: Jilted Love. The author was tasteful in painting a wonderful picture of each character and developing their personalities throughout each story. I look forward to Volume 2 and what the future holds in the rest of these wonderful stories!" ~ Britney U
"I really loved the complexities that came with the characters. It made them more than just fictional characters but instead real people that you could encounter in day to day life. It's also kind of terrifying the things we'd do for love and in A Trinity of Wicked Tales Ms. Ross explores those terrifying possibilities." ~ Amber

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
This is a collection of three short stories dealing with the subject of jilted love. They are cautionary tales of what can go wrong when love isn't reciprocated.
In "Junk for Two", two junkies will do anything for their next fix.
In "Iris", a young woman's obsession turns deadly.
In "Phil", when a man's life falls apart, he resorts to drastic measures.
Overall, the writing is good, but there are some clumsily phrased sentences that you need to read twice in order to ascertain their intended meanings. There are also too many unnecessary physical descriptions (especially in relation to eye color) and a few editing errors. Still, these are three interesting stories of obsession with unexpected endings. I look forward to seeing the author further develop her craft in the next volume.
Warnings: coarse language, graphic violence, sex scenes.

Interview With the Author
Author Kyla Ross joins me today to discuss her book of short stories, A Trinity of Wicked Tales Volume One: Jilted Love.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
Adult, mature readers.
What sparked the idea for this book?
Real life issues. I was having a really hard time with family and career. Then I found a grey hair. I had to write the thoughts out that I kept trapped inside for a decade. I had to make it happen.
Which comes first? The character's story or the plot?
The characters' stories mean everything. Their ideology of a fair and humble life are delusional. They ruin others in the process. It's fun seeing their stories from them.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
It was my first literary fiction piece. So everything was a little challenging. I come from a technical background. So the transition wasn't as easy I thought it would be.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
Think about how things could be worse when you're having a tough time. Appreciate those loyal people who support you. And make sure you know the one you devote yourself to. This is hard because you can be with someone for decades and not know them. But never ignore the signs.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Five months.
What is your writing routine?
I write whenever I feel inspired, which is often. Even when I'm driving, I pitch ideas to myself. I always have a notebook.
How did you get your book published?
I self-published it.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Keep writing, take constructive criticism. Look to be better at you craft and commit to the long run. It's a fun ride.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Reading is cool. I love music, so I blast that in my car and house.
What does your family think of your writing?
My family enjoys my writing. Mom thinks it's a little dark but she appreciates it. My siblings and family member love the book and are very proud.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I grew up in Detroit. Not the most lavish life, but I had really good friends. We moved a lot. I was a shy kid so finding a friend and keeping them for a long time was a custom for me. I'm the oldest of six so there was never a solo moment for me until college. I had a lot of stress on my shoulders but it was worth it. I am very, very close to my siblings.
Did you like to read when you were a child?
Yes! I thought books were an amazing escape. My aunt used to work at a science and engineering library and we spent a ton of time with her. I pretended to understand what I was reading every time. Though I didn't understand what I was reading, I couldn't help it. I loved the books for being books full of things I didn't understand. It was fun for me. And of course there was the Goosebumps series, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, anything the Reading Rainbow discussed. I was always a bookworm.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
A long time ago, but I was having a love affair with biochemistry, so I set it aside. I picked it up when my mom told me to stop doubting myself and that I owe it to myself to 'fail'. She said it will be okay. Just try. And I did, and I'm enjoying every moment of it.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Yes and no. Growing up in Detroit, I saw and heard things that were both terrifying and refreshing. It was real life. The horrible things that people do to each other is nothing that we should pretend doesn't happen. It does. Nowadays, things don't surprise me. I guess my hard outer shell makes it a little easy to get graphic in my writing.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
I love Sam Sisavath! I read tons of writers but right now he's at the top of my list. I'm getting into Richard Laymon and am liking what I'm reading. Stephen King is an amazing author as well. Lately, I've been reading indie author books, so my top 3 changes often.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I do hear from readers of my book and free flash fiction. They say they really enjoyed the thrill and the twist I provide. The graphic scenes were enough to make some people tell me I scared the hell out of them. It's all positive. It's fun to talk with them on social media. Their interest keeps me going.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
Wow. Where to start? I have a Romantic Suspense/Erotic Thriller coming out this summer (a novel). A Trinity of Wicked Tales Volume Two will be out in October, and I publish free flash fiction monthly. I'm doing some guest posts, some of my work will be narrated on a podcast. I am also aiming to publish a horror novella this year.
Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by today, Kyla. Anything else you would like to add?
Happy reading everybody!

About the Author
Kyla Ross is a horror, thriller, and dark fiction writer from Detroit, Michigan. She posts suspense and horror flash fiction on her blog biweekly and is the author of a collection of gruesome suspenseful short stories titled A Trinity of Wicked Tales Volume One: Jilted Love. Her first erotic thriller novel, When We Swing, will be released in June 2017.