I have slept late for the past two days. Two thumbs up for stay-cation!
But you don’t really care about my R&R. Let’s just get these stories out! I’ve got fellow FF&Per, Cecilia Dominic, to review her novel, THE MOUNTAIN’S SHADOW. Today is your LAST DAY to pick this baby up for a steal!
Cecilia Dominic wrote her first story when she was two years old and has always had a much more interesting life inside her head than outside of it. She became a clinical psychologist because she’s fascinated by people and their stories, but she couldn’t stop writing fiction. (AND SHE SHOULDN’T!)The first draft of her dissertation, while not fiction, was still criticized by her major professor for being written in too entertaining a style. (LOL Imagine that!) She made it through graduate school and got her PhD, started her own practice, and by day, she helps people cure their insomnia without using medication. By night, she blogs about wine and writes fiction she hopes will keep her readers turning the pages all night. Yes, she recognizes the conflict of interest between her two careers, so she writes and blogs under a pen name. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with one husband and two cats, which, she’s been told, is a good number of each. (And if my sister-in-law still lived in the ATL, I’d invite Cecilia out for coffee or a glass of wine to talk shop while visiting.)
You can find her at:
Web page: www.ceciliadominic.com
Wine blog: http://www.randomoenophile.com
To buy her books, you can get them in trade paper and all ebook formats from Samhain Publishing: https://www.samhainpublishing.com/author/1740/cecilia-dominic
Onto the review…
I WAS OFFERED A FREE COPY OF THIS BOOK FOR AN HONEST REVIEW:
THE MOUNTAIN’S SHADOW is the first book of the LYCANTHROPY FILES, a series which approaches the topic of werewolves from a scientific point of view. I love when authors do this, and I think this is what I enjoyed most about this story. Dominic’s put her own spin on an old classic. While some mysticism remains, the concept of “werewolves” as recessive genes and sociological/mental disorders was fascinating. Most especially because my hubs works in human services, and I love when he breaks down social disorders for me. This totally speaks to Dominic’s clinical background, and I think she did a great job staying focused on the intricacies of the biological basis for the subject matter.
Let’s not think it’s all business here. Dominic adds in some real-world flavor with complicated relationship scenarios and some HOT alphas! I’m not gonna say who my favorite was, but needless to say I’m very excited he gets his own novel in the series.
Overall, this read was entertaining for sure… left me hungry for a gourmet meal, some fine wine, and a Scottish accent 😉 Again, SALE ENDS TODAY!! Go get a copy!
How’s about a bit about Cecilia and her process…
- This is an interesting twist on lycanthropy. Please tell us a little bit about what sparked your inspiration for the premise?
When I started the novel, I was doing my predoctoral internship in clinical psychology at the Central Arkansas VA. I was one of the health psychology interns, so I was in a medical environment and was also fascinated with where mental and physical health intersected. I knew I wanted to do something different with werewolves, and so it seemed that making it a rare genetic disorder might explain a lot as to why it hasn’t popped up much until now. Plus I and my colleagues had noticed how childhood psychological disorders seemed to have waves of popularity with corresponding prescribing peaks for certain types of drugs. All of those components built into a “What if…?” moment.
(JC: Oh! Love the “what if” moment)
- What other projects do you have lined up?
I’m currently in the middle of my Aether Psychics steampunk series, which I have planned as four books, but I’m open to the story taking me where it needs to. The first book, Eros Element, will be out on August 25. My publisher, Samhain Publishing, came up with a great tagline for that one – if love is the ivy, secrets are the poison.
(JC: sounds sexy… take a peek at the end of this interview for a quick glimpse at this gorgeous cover and story)
- If you could have dinner with any of your characters, who would they be? (you may pick more than one)
There are several. I would like to have dinner with Lonna Marconi, the heroine of the second Lycanthropy Files book. She’s one of my favorites, being social worker but also a private detective. She also says whatever comes to her mind. Another one would be Doctor Forrester-Schmidt, a sort-of antagonist in A Perfect Man, my new adult contemporary that came out in May. She worked for a big publishing house but was laid off in a takeover and now teaches at a Southern university. I’d love to get her take on how she feels about it all and where she sees the industry going. Finally, in the Aether Psychics, there’s a character who’s only been alluded to, Claire McPhee. She’s been through analysis with Sigmund Freud but came out of it with somewhat revolutionary ideas about mental health, at least for that time. I’m so looking forward to writing her book and would like to just sit and talk to her.
- Is there a book that has made a lasting impact or an influence on you?
My shelves are full of them, but the one that most comes to mind is Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsong. It’s part of the Harper Hall Trilogy, a YA-ish spinoff of her Dragonriders of Pern series. I really identified with Menolly, the main character, and it also brought me into reading science fiction and fantasy. I so wish fire lizards were real!
- If you could live in any other time, when might that be?
That’s a tough one. I really like my modern comforts and freedoms as well as the lack of cigarette smoke in most public places. I’ll say the Victorian era because of the music. I’d love to see Chopin or Liszt play the piano in person.
- What’s currently playing on your iPod/CD player/music app?
I have Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique cued up on my iTunes because it’s the inspiration for the fictional play my characters are doing in the second Aether Psychics book, which is in edits at the moment. Otherwise, I listen to a lot of U2, and I just had Death Cab For Cutie’s Codes & Keys playing in the car because I wanted something mellow. That reminds me – I need to get their new one.
And just for fun…
- Live without your phone? OR Live without your computer, iPod, and clean clothes?
Oh, live without my phone, definitely. I’m on it too much, anyway, and the only thing I’d lack with only my computer is Instagram. I also can’t imagine living without clean underwear, especially during our very hot, sticky Southern summer.
- Be a vampire? OR Be a werewolf?
I think I’d prefer to be a werewolf so I can be out during the day. Yes, I’m a vampire traditionalist – I don’t believe in sparkling daytime vamps. I would have to be careful, though, not to be tempted into vigilante-ism.
- Receive $5 a day for the rest of your life? OR Receive $50,000 right here, right now?
I just did the math. I’m going to be optimistic and say I’m going to live beyond age 65, so I’ll take the $5 a day for the rest of my life. Plus it’ll be easier to avoid paying taxes on it.
(JC: smart… that’s why you’re in science! LOL)
Here’s a few questions for Joanie: (switching mental gears)
- Do you think life would have been different if you hadn’t been so passionate about your CLS research?
I can’t imagine not being passionate about it, especially now that I recognize the connection between CLS and what happened to my brother. If I hadn’t gone into that area, I would have felt like I was missing something, some big piece of the puzzle of who I am and how I fit into my family. I also wouldn’t have pursued the research career I did, or at least not with as much determination. I might have settled for a more “normal” life, whatever that means.
- Would you have gone for that dream job that would have likely taken you away from all of this?
Definitely – I was really focused on my career, and I knew my position as a junior researcher at Cabal was a starter job. I would have loved to have a bigger lab, more resources, and of course a bigger paycheck. I am of course assuming I could have walked away from Robert. But I would have felt like I could get closer to the answer of what was causing CLS faster.
- Do you think of yourself as different from the others? Why?
We’re all kind of stuck with this problem and with no direction or tips on how to handle it. There’s not really a community to help us, at least not one that we’ve found so far. I should ask Gabriel about that since he’s had CLS his whole life, but he hasn’t said much about what it was like back home. Being able to use the aconite to spirit-walk rather than change could potentially set me apart, but I need more data. I know that Lonna and I can do it, but I don’t know how many of the others have tried it, or if any of them have. I definitely want to do more experiments to see if it’s a rare talent or if it’s a common variant of the main disorder.
- How do you possibly handle being pursued by multiple were-men?
It’s strange, but I won’t say I don’t enjoy it. I’ve typically been invisible to men. Lonna has the advantage – she’s beautiful, curvy, tall, and not afraid to let someone know she’s interested. I guess I’ll try to keep my options open, not commit too soon, and let my head have more of a say in what I decide. I’ve made the mistake of ignoring my instincts once. Whatever my next relationship is, it needs to be with a guy who’s able to commit to me entirely and without hurting someone else in the process. I won’t be the other woman again.
And now a few for Leo:
- If you knew about (and could go back in time to) the point of infection, what would you do?
It was a flu shot. Let me think… I would view it as sort of a Matrix thing – red pill or blue? Do you want access to that strange world or life as usual? It would have been nice to have a choice, although I don’t think I would have chosen life as usual knowing what I know now. I might have tried to keep Ron from doing it after how he ended up.
- Do you have a preference: human form or wolf form? Why?
I like both, but what I resent is being forced to change at the full moon. Given the choice, I’d prefer to be in control, particularly during that time of disorientation right after changing from wolf to human form. That’s the most dangerous time to be around us, and I’ve done some things I regret.
- Do you regret the circumstances, which have made you what you are?
I gave up a lot – I’ve wanted to be a doctor my whole life – but it’s been a huge adventure. At least it was once I saw it that way. That’s one of the things I love about Joanie, her curiosity. For her, everything is a big puzzle to be figured out. Even under the most difficult circumstances, she finds something to be fascinated about.
- Would you want to be cured?
Some days yes, some days no. Chronic Lycanthropy Syndrome isn’t a black and white thing. Unlike most diseases, it confers benefits. But to be honest, now that I’ve gotten a taste of what it’s like to indulge the animal side of myself and run with the pack under a full moon, to have that level of understanding of the animal and human worlds, I wouldn’t want to go back. I could see how it’s not for everyone, though.
Finally, Cecilia: Care to offer a few words of encouragement to fellow writers?
If it’s something you’re passionate about, don’t give up. I’ve always written, but I started taking my writing more seriously in 2002 when I experienced what I thought was a major professional setback. What followed were years of rejections, both for short stories and novels, but I kept working at it. It took me ten years of working and submitting to break in. Admittedly, I would send out five to ten queries, get rejected, and then sulk for six to twelve months, so maybe I could’ve progressed sooner, but everything feels like it happened at the right time. The most important things are to enjoy the little things about it, not compare yourself to others (like that’s easy), and to join a supportive community.
(JC: Thanks so much Cecilia. It’s been a real pleasure having you by the blog)
Now, check out her new steampunk coming out in August!
EROS ELEMENT – AETHER PSYCHICS series (Available August 25th)
If love is the ivy, secrets are the poison.
After enduring heartbreak at the hands of a dishonest woman, Edward Bailey lives according to scientific principles of structure and predictability. Just the thought of stepping outside his strict routine raises his anxiety.
Adding to his discomfort is Iris McTavish, who appears at his school’s faculty meeting in place of her world-famous archeologist father. Worse, the two of them are to pose as Grand Tourists while they search for an element that will help harness the power of aether.
Iris jumps at the opportunity to prove her worth as a scholar—and avoid an unwanted marriage proposal—while hiding the truth of her father’s whereabouts. If her secret gets out, the house of McTavish will fall into ruin.
Quite unexpectedly, Edward and Iris discover a growing attraction as their journey takes them to Paris and Rome, where betrayal, blackmail and outright theft threaten to destroy what could be a revolutionary discovery—and break their hearts.
Warning: Allergen alert! This book was produced in a facility that handles copious amounts of wine, tea and baked goods. May contain one or more of the following: a spirited heroine, a quirky hero, clever banter, interesting facts both made-up and historical, and lots of secrets. It is, however, gluten free.