Search This Blog

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Interview with the Chupacabra!

Here we are, only ONE DAY TO GO until the release of The Un-Familiar: A Tale of Cats and Gods, and one chance left to win your FREE copy of the book (or of my other two titles, Marina Melee or Ye Gods! A Tale of Dogs and Demons.)

Congratulations to Wednesday's drawing winner, Julie N!

If you haven't won yet, be sure to give it one more go--head over to the Contact page on my website and send me a message to get your name in the hat.

Introducing The Star of the Story, the one, the only--

The Chupacabra!

Here we are, the day before the release of The Un-Familiar: A Tale of Cats and Gods, with our ninth and final character interview. Today, I'm talking with the character this all revolves around, the chupacabra, aka Chewy, formerly known as Muggle, and before that, Paco, and before that, Toby.  Or, as he's known in some circles, the dog-god of Mercy.

LMH: Welcome, Chewy! OMG, you are sooooo adorable!
Chewy: Yip, yip, yip!

The Chupacabra, aka Chewy, aka Muggle,
aka Paco, aka Toby, aka
the dog-god of Mercy.
LMH: Oh, and canine, too. Chewy, sit. Thank you. OK, can I speak to the god?
Chewy (in a play bow, growling): Grrrrrrr.

LMH: Chewy? Come on. This is an interview. I need to talk with the god. Can you let him speak?
Chewy: Arf! Arf-arf!

LMH: No, I didn't mean "speak" like that, I mean, can Mercy talk with us?
Chewy (runs around the room and grabs a tug-toy.)

LMH: Ok, I'll tug for a minute if you promise to settle down afterwards so I can talk with Mercy. Excuse me a moment, folks.
LMH: There. No lay down. Down. Good girl. Mercy? Are you there?
Mercy (with a heavy sigh; his answer comes not in words, but in images and thoughts in my mind): I am here.

LMH: Welcome back. It must be rewarding to know so many animals believe in you.
Mercy: I am sad that so many still need to believe in me.

LMH: True. So, let's talk about some of the positive things in your life. How about Rafi?
Mercy: Unlike most of your species, Rafi is a good, good man. He deserves mercy and love more than most. He deserves the Captain.

LMH: How about the others: Kiki, Senora Milagros, Carmen?
Mercy: Ah, I love them all. They are remarkable and their life stories are meant to converge. I ensure that happens--with a bang. To find out how, read The Un-Familiar: A Tale of Cats and Gods. Now, I must rest. I will release Chewy. She is eager to play.

Confused? As the god said, read The Un-Familiar and you won't be! Available tomorrow, July 1, from Casperian Books, or pre-order now at Amazon.

Now go register HERE for your chance to win a copy!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

An Interview with Reverend Aurelio Peña

The COUNTDOWN continues to Friday's release of my latest novel, The Un-Familiar: A Tale of Cats and Gods. Only 2 days--and 2 more character interviews--to go. That means 2 more chances to win a FREE BOOK, too! Don't forget: you have to enter the drawing every day. Names don't carry over from one day to the next, so head over to my website and send a message via the Contact page to be entered!

Congratulations to yesterday's winner, Keith W!

On to today's character interview.


Introducing Reverend Aurelio Peña


Our penultimate character interview is with the Reverend Aurelio Peña. Rev Peña, like Dr. Raines, is a newcomer to the cast. A celebrity televangelist, Peña preaches "prosperity gospel," the message that God wants us to be rich and selfish because He wants us to be happy and the way to happiness is to "get mine before someone else does." Given Peña's huge worldwide following, that message resonates with a lot of people. And, according to the corollary that those who are successful at amassing wealth must be pleasing to God because he's blessed them with riches, then Peña is certainly a favorite.


LMH: Welcome Reverend Peña. Oh, and I see you're not alone.

Peña: Vales la Peña (bows). You know my catch phrase, yes? It's a play on words. In Spanish, vale la pena means it's worthwhile. I switched that around, vales la Peña, you are worth the Peñ (wink). Get it?


LMH: Yes, I completely get it. You're worth the pain. So, tell there pain involved, following you?

(A petite serious looking woman in a dark business suit, her hair pulled back into a severe bun steps forward, one hand sliding under her blazer. Peña holds out a hand and stops her.)

Peña (to her): Esta bien, General. (Then to me): Tsk, tsk, tsk, such pessimism. An unattractive quality. Probably from low self-esteem. I can help. Follow me and you will learn the way to happiness. Trust me, vales la Peña.


LMH: That's nice. Can we get on with the interview? Oh, and can your staff wait outside?

Peña: Ah, my assistants. This is my head of security, who sitteth on my right-hand side, General Luisa Feliciano. (The woman nods). And these are the Women in White, as you said, my staff. (Pointing to each one in turn): My publicist, personal assistant, style consultant, hair stylist, personal physician, um, uh...(finger snapping)

Feliciano (whispering): Shoe shiner, sir.

Peña: Ah, right, my shoe shiner, and (waving absently) that one is in training. You may leave. Except the General. She stays with me at all times.


LMH: Fine. Now, tell us about how you came to be such a powerful preacher.

Peña: Ah, well, that is the god's will, isn't it?


LMH: Now, when you say gods, is that with a capital G, the God? And are you saying God's, singular, apostrophe s God's or plural, many gods? It's hard to tell just hearing it and I want to make sure I transcribe it correctly for the readers.

Peña: Shrewd. Most people don't catch that ambiguity when they hear the spoken word. That's why I prefer preaching orally to having things captured on paper. It leads to confusion. Questions. Verbally, my followers all hear what they want--need--to hear to believe.


LMH: Isn't that a bit...well, underhanded?

Peña: Underhanded? No, of course not. We do what we have to do to be successful. That's god's will.


LMH: Again, what god is that? God, capital G or are you referring to something--or someone--else?

Peña: Ah, very good. But, I can't tell you that. It would spoil the surprise. If your readers want to know, they'll have to get The Un-Familiar: A Tale of Cats and Gods to find out!

Thank you all for joining us. Now, either scroll down to read about the rest of the characters in The Un-Familiar, or head on over to, look around, and send a message to enter for today's drawing for a free book. Or, better yet--do both!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Character Interview with Dr. Joe Raines

THE COUNTDOWN CONTINUES! Only 4 days until the release of The Un-Familiar: A Tale of Cats and Gods (Casperian Books) and that means we have another winner of a FREE BOOK today, and 3 more chances to win!

Congratulations to yesterday's winner, Phyllis G!

Welcome to today's interview with Dr. Joe Raines! Don't forget to send a message via my Contact page on my website if you haven't won a book yet. There are still 3 more chances to win, but you have to sign-in each day for your name to be entered into the hat!

Introducing Dr. Joe Raines

Dr. Joe Raines is another new and captivating character who joins the cast in The Un-Familiar: A Tale of Dogs and Demons. Joe is the new professor of oceanography at UPR and he specializes in climate science. He'll also be Kiki's boss as she starts her college work-study program. Joe has established quite the reputation for himself in his field: he has published prolifically, and his weather and climate models are the most accurate around. So, why isn't he at some big, prestigious university or research institute? Makes one wonder what he's up to in Puerto Rico, doesn't it? Here he comes now.

A Joe Raines Look-Alike, and my choice
for who will play him in the movie version of
The Un-Familiar: A Tale of Cats and Gods.

LMH: Welcome...mmmmmmm...
Joe (snapping his fingers): Hello? Did you have some questions?


LMH: Wow. Milagros was not kidding when she described those eyes: "dark gray, almost black, flecked with gold and green, like the Hubble telescope images of distant galaxies. Like she could fall into them for eternity." Mmmmm...dreamy.

Joe (clearing his throat): Thank you, I guess. You know, the University has a really good online training program on sexual harassment in the workplace. Maybe you should look it over?

LMH: Oh, sorry. Um, let's see. Where were we? Yes, The Un-Familiar. You're new to the cast. How was it working with this group, being the newcomer and all?

Joe: I enjoyed it. Jack and I got on great, and you know Kiki is always a pleasure. The girl is absolutely brilliant, if a little cocky. I suspect that's going to get her in trouble in the future. And don't let my scenes with Carmen fool you. I adore her. That's a good thing, too, isn't it? Since we spend a lot of time together. My favorite colleague of all, though, is Milagros--Señora Milagros. You know how touchy she gets if you leave off the title. My scenes with her? There was definite chemistry there.

LMH: Looking at your background, you seem to have an uncanny knack for being around right when the most extreme natural disasters strike: San Diego during the wildfires, Oklahoma for the tornadoes, and now, Puerto Rico when a series of hurricanes are lining up, ready to strike. Is there some reason for that, or mere coincidence?

Joe (grinning...and OMG is that a sexy smile...oh, excuse me. Sorry. He's not grinning anymore. Not that the scowl isn't sexy too, but...(sigh) back to the interview): Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe more. Read The Un-Familiar, then you decide.

LMH: Wow. Just wow (sigh). And thank you so much for joining us, Dr. Raines.

Now head on over to the contact page on my website and send me a message to be entered for today's chance to win a free book or your choice! 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Character Interview with Jack Halliman

Welcome back. And CONGRATULATIONS to yesterday's drawing winner, Lori D! For all of you who haven't been drawn, not to worry. There are still 4 more opportunities to win. Don't forget, the contest starts anew each day, so head back to my website and send a message via the Contact page to enter every day.

The winner of Sunday's drawing is...

Now, on to today's interview,

Introducing Jack Halliman

Today we have the pleasure of chatting with the Jack Halliman, bestselling author of the Franz Henle mystery series. We first met Jack in Marina Melee because he lives on his boat-- the Holey Ship--at the marina of that story's title: Porto da Vida Marina, on the island of São Jorge. If you recall, in Ye Gods! A Tale of Dogs and Demons, Jack sailed to Puerto Rico looking for a cure to his writer's block. Instead, he found a dead body and became one of two suspects in a murder mystery. The other was the chupacabra. Despite his efforts to focus on writing his next novel and not get caught up in the investigation, he still ended up in the middle of it all. But, with a little "inspiration" from Señora Milagros, he did manage to finish the manuscript for his next novel, too.

LMH: Welcome, Jack. Let me say, for anyone who has followed you from those early days when we first met you, you do seem to be mellowing with age. You were a real grouch back in Marina Melee.

Jack: Oh, come on. I wasn't that bad, was I? Maybe a little bit disillusioned. My marriage had fallen apart and the ex took more than her fair share of everything, including my daughter's affection. I'm over all that now. Janelle and I have reconciled. Me paying for her big fat wedding to that no-good Charlie helped, I can tell you that. But, yes, back in those days I was angry. But I wasn't a total ass. Don't forget, I took LaQuisha under my wing and tutored her and mentored her with her marina newsletter idea. Did you know, she's still at it? Some other marinas have even copied the idea. I keep telling her she should get out of that dead-end job, get her degree and go into journalism. I even offered to pay for it. But, she's devoted to George, and now that she and Albie are an item, I don't think she'll ever move. Anyway, I guess maybe I was a bit grumpy back then. But...(shrug).

LMH: OK, I guess it's understandable that you were in a bad place back then. How about now. Let's talk about that novel, Murder in Mayagüez. It was a bit of a departure from your usual Franz Henle story. What did the critics think?

Jack (groan): Do we have to talk about it? That could put me right back into a bad place. Let's just say I've learned my lesson. From now on, I'll stick with my tried-and-true formula for success: Franz sails off to some idyllic island for some R-and-R only to get caught up in a murder investigation---of the non-magical, non-supernatural sort. My fans were not pleased.

LMH: Wow. I'm surprised it wasn't a huge hit. I mean, with your fabulous writing, and Señora Milagros providing the...shall we say "some magical oomph" on top? It should have been great. And really, can we be honest here? The typical vampire/supernatural book reader isn't all that discerning about the quality of the writing, right?

Jack: I'll give you that. But, my readers are. To be fair, the writing is some of my best and I can't fault Milagros for the story. It's a terrific story, but just nothing my fans expect. I guess Kiki had a point when she said my fans--like her dad--like their books to be formulaic and predictable. Anyway, can we change the subject?

LMH: OK. You first met Eddie back in Ye Gods! and since then, you've become great pals. Tell us about that.

Jack: Ed's a great guy. We have a lot in common, with my background in law enforcement and all, and our love of Inspector Clouseau and the Pink Panther series. I mean, how often do you meet someone who can rattle off those Peter Sellers lines like that? I was used to people looking at me like I was nuts when I'd throw one of those classic on-liners out, but Ed just picked up on it. He's just an all-around good guy. Rafi, too. They've come over to São Jorge a few times, and I've visited them in Puerto Rico. We even took a sailing trip to the BVI together--the two of them, and me and my agent, Gail Murphy-Majors. You remember her from Ye Gods!, right? She's a pretty memorable character.

LMH: Oooh, you and Gail? Is there something going on there we should know about?

Jack: It's complicated. You know, she's married to her job and the agency, lives in New York. And I'm down here in the islands, living this laid back life. Well, at least it's laid back when I'm not being manipulated by Milagros and trying to round up Kiki, Carmen, and the god.  Anyway, Gail and I, we complement each other, but if we were always together, we'd drive each other nuts. So, we're taking things slow and casual for now. But who knows? By the time the final book in the trilogy, Ye Goddess! A Tale of Girls and Gods, comes out maybe we'll have progressed to something a bit more defined?

LMH: We're out of time, Jack. It's been a pleasure talking with you. We'll be looking forward to seeing how things develop between you and Gail!
Thank you all for joining us. Now head on over to my website and send me a message on the Contact page to enter into today's drawing for a FREE BOOK!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Character Interview with Rafael Bishop Soto

Welcome to DAY 5 of my 10-day Count Down to the Release of The Un-Familiar: A Tale of Cats and Gods.  On each day for days 1-9, I'm posting an interview with one of the characters. For the listing of when and who will be in each interview, check HERE.

I'm also giving away one FREE BOOK each day until the July 1 release. To win, you have to enter the drawing. To enter, you have to go to my website and send me a message via the CONTACT page.

REMEMBER: Each day is a new contest, so you have to stop by and enter for a chance to win every day.

Congratulations to the winners to date: Connie Denison, Bob Sanchez, Jennifer Killby, and Pat Burke.

The Hubby drawing the name of today's winner from the hat.
Congratulations, Pat!
Introducing Rafael Bishop Soto

Rafael Bishop Soto is a newcomer to the trilogy's cast. He was mentioned as Eddie's "other partner" (non-work) in Ye Gods!, but we never met him. Rafi is an incredibly talented artist whose work has been shown in all the best galleries in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, LA, and, of course, Puerto Rico. Rafi has emerged from a tragic and traumatic past, to become a compassionate and caring man. In Ye Gods!, Señora Milagros explained that the god of Mercy takes the form of  a dog "because dogs represent the best of what humans could be...[showing] loyalty, love, perfect forgiveness." Rafi comes the closest of anyone I know to embodying those divine dogly qualities. Here he comes now...

LMH: Welcome, Rafi, it's a pleasure to have you here. Readers following these interviews have already heard quite a bit about you from Kiki. She's smitten.

Rafi: I just adore Kiki. Isn't she a hoot? Some crazy mix of Albert Einstein meets Dora the Explorer meets Elle Woods.


LMH: Now that's funny. I'd never thought of her that way, but it fits. I love that you two become such good friends, but let's talk about you. Yesterday, when I spoke with Eddie, he was reluctant to talk about your relationship.

Rafi: Oh, that's Eddie playing macho-cop. He really does do that whole man's-man thing well, doesn't he? You can understand why he has to, right? I mean, a gay guy, and a cop? In Puerto Rico? To get any respect, just to survive, he's always had to prove that he's tough enough. As a kid, and even at the police academy, the other kids would try to beat up on him. But Eddie's a big fella. His father was intent on toughening him up, so Eddie became a great boxer. You should see him. Talk about float like a butterfly! But he doesn't so much sting like a bee, it's more like knock you over like a bulldozer. Anyway, now, as an adult, it's the media and the politicians like former-Mayor Reyes that pick on him. He's had to grow a thick skin and set some firm boundaries between his personal and professional life. Really, a lot of that machismo is to keep everyone from finding out he's a big old softie.


LMH: You had a hard time growing up, too. Care to tell us about it? About your parents?

Rafi (He holds turns his arms palms up in front of me. White welts rise up across the wrists): It was hard enough having to retell all that in the book, so I'd rather not go through it again. I can tell you a bit about my parents and that might help you to understand why they did what they did. My father was a good ole boy from Mississippi, stationed here at Ramey Air Force Base, that's where he met my mother. He was southern Baptist and she was, of course, Catholic. That led to a stormy enough marriage. Both families opposed it---his because he was marrying a "brown-skinned foreign heathen" and hers because she was marrying a non-Catholic gringo. When it became clear that, as my father put it, there was something "funny" about me, his parents--I've never met that set of grands. They refused to have anything to do with me or my mother--said that I was God's revenge for the marriage. I was their worst nightmare come true, a gay, raised-Catholic, Latino in the family. Now, my mother's mother, mi abuelita--I called her Yaya--she came around. She did her best to take care of me and protect me. She was as pious as they come, mind you. Going to church every day, twice on Sunday, but she believed whatever God made, however he made it, was perfect, including me, just the way I am.


LMH: Have you reconciled with your parents?

Rafi: Yes. Maybe. No, not really. I've seen them and spoken with them, but I won't reconcile with them. I'm still working on the forgiveness part. I have a hard time with that because I know forgiveness doesn't mean accepting or condoning, but sometimes it feels that way. But, that's my issue to deal with, not yours. Let's talk about something a bit more cheerful, shall we?


LMH: OK, how about animals? You have quite a way with them, don't you?

Rafi:  I do! No one was more surprised by that than me. The only pet I ever had growing up was a goldfish. They inspired me. I was never more prolific than when they were all in the house. I've got a show coming up soon with my post-hurricane paintings of all the animals. I call it, "They Came Two-by-Two." They didn't, really. They came in droves.


LMH: Congratulations! Our time is up now. I know everyone will love meeting you in The Un-Familiar, and look forward to seeing even more of you ahead.  

Rafi: I'm so excited to see what's in store for me in the final book of the trilogy: Ye Goddess: A Tale of Girls and Gods so you had better go get writing!

LMH: Thank you all for stopping by! Now head over to my website to enter for your chance to win a FREE BOOK! You have your choice of books (Marina Melee, Ye Gods! or The Un-Familiar) in print or electronic versions. But you have to register each day to be entered anew each day!

OK, folks! You know the drill: head on over to my website and send me a message via the Contacts page to be entered into today's drawing for a free book! Today's winner will be announced tomorrow morning.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Interview with Captain Eddie Corredor

Welcome back! Today, I continue with interview number 4 of our nine character interviews, one each day leading up to the day 10 (July 1) release of The Un-Familiar: A Tale of Cats and Gods. After you get to know a little bit about Captain Eddie Corredor (very little, actually!) be sure to head over to the contact page on my website. Send a message to enter for today's drawing for a free book. No worries about privacy: the message comes directly to me, so no one else sees your name or contact information, and I don't share the info with anyone. Do be sure to stop back every day since you have to register each day for that day's drawing.

The Un-Familiar: A Tale of Cats and Gods
Coming July 1
from Casperian Books

Introducing Captain Eddie Corredor

Eddie Corredor has been with the Puerto Rico Police Department for over twenty years. He'd just started on the force when the chupacabra appeared for the first time back in the mid-90s. Twenty years later, he and his (work) partner, Hector Ruiz, discovered the truth behind the reported chupacabra sightings and mayhem those caused: the mayor had been donning a costume to instill fear into his constituents as a means to drum up votes and customers for his business, Monster Safaris, Inc. Their work earned Eddie and Ruiz promotions, and a bit of notoriety.

LMH: Welcome, Captain Corredor and congratulations on the promotion. It must be very difficult being an openly gay police officer in Puerto Rico, so I'd imagine the recognition for your good work is appreciated.

Eddie: Why is that? Shouldn't good work be rewarded and the recognition appreciated, regardless of race, age, creed, or sexual orientation? Good work is good work.


LMH: I just meant, well, not to offend you, but given the reputation of the PRPD? Not known for their honesty and trustworthiness, you know. They have a pretty bad and well-earned reputation for corruption and abuse of authority. It seems such an odd fit--everything about you contradicts what the force has come to represent on the island.

Eddie (shaking his head): A few bad apples, and they're the ones who make the news. That makes it tough for the rest of us. There are so many good, hardworking, and honest cops on the force. Guys who are there to fight against that reputation and the tide of corruption. Don't let the bad press fool you. Most of us are caring, compassionate, and take the public's trust seriously.

LMH: Good to know. Now, about that job. Law enforcement is dangerous work. It has to be awfully stressful on your loved ones. How does Rafi deal with the constant worry?

Eddie: My personal life is off limits for interviews.

LMH: What? Why?

Eddie: I've been burned more than once before. Reporters like Miguel Graciento over at that gossip rag, En Otras Noticias, twist the truth and use innuendo and hearsay to sensationalize their stories--and that's all they are, stories. Make believe. Not information. People think the police are corrupt? Graciento was involved up to his eyeballs in that Monster Safaris business. It's unconscionable that he'd be back reporting the "news" and that they'd let him write another story about the chupacabra after that.

LMH: OK, I can understand your reluctance, but I'm not a reporter. I'm an author. You do know that people will read all about you and Rafi in The Un-Familiar, right?

Eddie: I know. Sorry. The media is just a touchy subject for me. The fourth estate. Ha! You know what Oscar Wilde wrote about the fourth estate, don't you? That it may have been the fourth estate when that term was coined, the other three being branches of government, but now it's the only one--it ate the other three.

LMH: Interesting. Can we get back to the interview?

Eddie (His phone vibrates): Sorry...I have a call. It's work. I have to run. Thank you for your time.

LMH: Thank--  (door slams) And there he goes. The work of a police officer is never done, I suppose. Tune in tomorrow when we'll meet with Rafi. And hopefully, he won't be quite as reluctant to talk with us!

Now it's time for you to head over the contact page on my website to enter for your chance to WIN a book! Just send a message to me to enter. Congratulations to yesterday's winner, Jennifer Killby!

Friday, June 24, 2016

An Interview with Kiki Cristatello

To celebrate the publication of my third novel, The Un-Familiar: A Tale of Cats and Gods (the sequel to Ye Gods! A Tale of Dogs and Demons), I'm posting character interviews for the nine days leading up to the July 1 release. I'm also GIVING AWAY BOOKS!

Yes, you read that correctly. I'm giving away one book each day until July 1. All you have to do to enter your name in the drawing is to stop by my website at and send a message via the contact page. Your message comes right to my email box, so no names or email addresses and comments posted on the page, and no one else will get their hands on your contact information to spam you with offers. I start fresh each day, so if you enter but don't win, be sure to stop back the next day and try again.

So, on to the interview! (And scroll down to see the interviews with Sra Milagros Hernan from 6/22 and with Carmen del toro from 6/23).

Introducing Kiki Cristatello
Today I'm talking with Kiki Cristatello, our youngest cast member at 16. Kiki seems to be over her obsession with the occult: she's given up her black hair dye, nail polish, and heavy eyeliner and is back to her regular blonde haired, freckle-faced girl next door look.


LMH: Thanks for joining us, Kiki. Why don't you tell us what you've been up to in the two years since Muggle die--Sorry, I mean, since the end of Ye Gods!

Kiki: Seriously? Why does everyone think they have to tiptoe around that? I mean, he's been gone for two years. You all treat me like I'm still a kid who needs to be coddled. I'm sixteen you know. And starting college--that's two years ahead of schedule if you care to do the math. And I landed a work-study position in the marine science department. I'm like the only freshman to get one in like forever. You know, freshmen usually get some menial gopher job in an administrative office. Not me. I'm going to work for Dr. Raines.

LMH: Oh, okay. I didn't mean to offend you. Congratulations on the job with Dr. Raines. It sounds like you're over Muggle I guess, and as I said in the introduction, I take it the new natural hair color means you're over your magic fetish? No longer waiting for your letter from Hogwarts?

Kiki: Ha. Ha. You're so funny. I do understand what fiction means and know there's no Hogwarts. And we all know there was no reason to "get over" Muggle. The dog will return. He always has. He was Paco, and before that, Toby. He never really went away. Not completely. He was just on a...hiatus. But now he's back and wait 'til you see him, er, her, he's in a she body, so I guess he's a girl, or at least Chewy is a girl, but I'm not sure if that makes the god a girl, or a boy in a girl's body.

LMH: Kiki, can we get--

Kiki: Would that make him a transvestite? I should ask someone about that. I don't think I know any transvestites, but I do know a gay couple. But I know that's not the same thing, but I should ask my friend--well, you know them, too. I mean, you do if you've read Ye Gods! Although we didn't actually meet Eddie's boyfriend, Rafi. Wait 'til you meet--

LMH: Excuse me, Kiki?

Kiki: --him. O-M-G, he is sooooooo hot. Eddie is wicked lucky. And he's sweet and you should see how good he is with all the animals. Especially Chewy. She just---

LMH: KIKI! I hate to interrupt, but can we get back to the interview?

Kiki: Sure. It's your gig. What's the next question?

LMH (checking my note cards): Damn. OK, continue. I was going to ask you about your friendship with Rafi.

Kiki (with a shrug): He's just awesomely sweet and a hottie, and everyone loves him. All the readers will too, I just know it. That's all. I'm done. Next?

LMH: That's all I have. Any last words?

Kiki (sniggering): Oh boy, do I ever have the last words. But, you'll have to read The Un-Familiar: A Tale of Cats and Gods to see what they are.

LMH: Thank y--

KIKI: Oh, and one more thing...I have to give a shout out to the president of my fan club. Did you know I have a fan club? Yep, I do. So, hola and abracitos---that's hello and hugs in Spanish, for all you monolingual-types--to T. Francis Sharp. He's also the author of Second Dead. You should check that out too, especially if you're into the whole zombie apocalypse thing, with undead, female teenagers that kick ass...can I say that? I hope so because I just did, and--get this--a mystical cat!

Now it's time to head over to my website and send a message via the contact page to enter for today's chance to win a free book! Congratulations to yesterday's winner, Bob Sanchez!

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Well, I'm returning for a brief bout of self-promotion. The down-side is, it's self-promotion. The up-side? That means you all  have the chance to win FREE BOOKS!

The reason for my brief return to blog-ville and the book giveaway is to announce and promote the release, at long last, of The Un-Familiar: A Tale of Cats and Dogs.

Book cover
The Un-Familiar, by Lynne M Hinkey,
published by Casperian Books.
Available July 1, 2016
I started this promotion yesterday (6/22) on Facebook with this post:


To prepare, I'll be posting a brief interview with different characters here (on my FB author page) each day between now and then. Stop by, meet them, and see what they have to say.

Then head over to my website at and send me a message from the Contact page to be entered into a drawing to win a FREE copy of one of my books (of your choosing): Marina Melee, Ye Gods! A Tale of Gods and Demons, or The Un-Familiar: A Tale of Cats and Gods. I'll select one winner each day. Please share widely so everyone has a chance to enter/win!

Yesterday, I posted the interview with Señora Milagros, and today's interview is with Carmen del Toro. Both of those are below in this post. I'll copy this contest information along with a new character interview in a new blog posts each day, so be sure to come back, read up on your favorite characters from Ye Gods! and meet a few new members of The Un-Familiar cast. Then send me a message from my website to enter. Ten days, ten chances to win--so be sure to go back every day between now and next Friday!

Here's the schedule of interviews:
6/22 Señora Milagros Hernan -- eccentric woman reputed to be a witch; she's ready to retire from her real job as familiar to a god
6/23 Carmen del Toro -- homeless woman with a tragic past and Milagros' apprentice who will be taking her place
6/24  Kiki Cristatello -- a college freshman at 16 with a much-coveted work-study position in the climate research center. She's just gotten over her dog Muggle's death and her belief that she's a witch...or has she?
6/25  Captain Eddie Corredor -- promoted to police captain for discovering that the mysterious chupacabra that had been terrorizing the island two years ago was really just the mayor in disguise
6/26  Rafi Bishop Soto -- Eddie's compañero/pareja, with a past as tragic as Carmen's
6/27  Jack Halliman -- best-selling author of the Franz Henle murder mystery series. His last novel ventured into the paranormal, specifically, the chupacabra, much to his fans' dismay
6/28  Dr. Joe Raines -- the new oceanography professor specializing in climate science with an uncanny ability to always be in the thick of the storm
6/29  Rev Aurelio Peña -- a famous televangelist whose comforting prosperity theology has amassed him a wide following. He and Dr Raines have a long-running animosity, given their opposing world-views and goals. Oh, and that thing with that woman from their past...that, too
6/30 Chewy aka the dog-god of Mercy, aka the chupacabra -- he's back and up to more mischief. Or should I say SHE is up to no good? These damn confusing when dealing with a god who can be anything he-she-it wants to be.

While none of these characters wanted their photos included, here's a collage of the actors who I think would play them in the movie version of The Un-Familiar.

  And now, on to the interviews.

From 6/22

Introducing Señora Milagros Isabela Hernán de Santiago

Today I have the pleasure of introducing Señora Milagros Isabela Hernán de Santiago. As you may recall, Señora Milagros is reputed to be a witch in the small town of Rincón, Puerto Rico, where she lives. It's not difficult to understand that, given her rather eccentric look. She favors flamboyant, flowing kaftans and scarves, and an armful of jangling bangles. As bestselling author Jack Halliman noted when he first met her, she looked like a cross between two old sitcom characters, Endora and Mrs. Roper.

LMH: Welcome, Señora Milagros. Can you please briefly introduce yourself: name, age, job, hobbies?

Señora Milagros: Thank you, dear. It's a pleasure to be here talking about myself. As you've mentioned, my name is Señora Milagros Isabela Hernán de Santiago and I am...wait, I have to think a moment...I'm quite mature. Let's leave it at that. I am the familiar to the god of Mercy, better known to most people as the chupacabra. That is both my job and my hobby. If you know that little rapscallion at all, you know he keeps me quite busy with his antics, so I don't have much time for anything else.

LMH: Can you explain to our readers what exactly a familiar is?

Señora Milagros: Oh, yes! I'd love to clarify. Humans get so tripped up by vocabulary, twisting and turning meanings around until no one understands anything. They got familiars, witches, and cats all jumbled, making cats the familiars of witches, but really, many familiars choose the form of a cat, either in their active life or retirement, so the familiars ARE the cats, and we ended up with the reputation of witches. We all know why that is: because anything humans don't understand, they attribute to magic, one way or another.

The truth is, familiars were created as assistants to the gods. We're like guardian angels. We help when our god needs a bit more power, and provide guidance and protection for him as he grows in strength. We protect our charge when they are weak and vulnerable, and help them to achieve their full power. Because the amount of power they may eventually wield could be excessive, we also hinder them from overreaching, regulating their power if needed. You mentioned Jack Halliman in your introduction--I do adore the Jack Halliman, don't you?--Jack had a wonderful analogy for what I do. I am the god's agent.

LMH: Speaking of the god, at the end of Ye Gods!, he'd sacrificed  himself to save Jack's dog, Hanna, and you and Carmen were going into your dormant phase to wait for his return. Since you're here, I guess the chupacabra has returned, but why are you here? Weren't you supposed to retire?

Señora Milagros: (clearing her throat and squirming in her seat a bit) Yes, well, that didn't go quite as planned. Did it? Between that hurricane, Carmen disappearing, and all sorts of other gods appearing on the island,'ll have to read The Un-Familiar: A Tale of Cats and Gods to find out what happened there, won't you?

And today's (6/23) interview with Carmen del Toro:

Introducing Carmen del Toro


You may remember Carmen del Toro as the young homeless woman from Ye Gods! Carmen's past is filled with trauma that few can imagine: she witnessed her family's murder, at the hands of her father, and her father's death at the mouth of her childhood dog, Paco. After spending nine years in a state run mental hospital, Carmen was kicked out to the street when she turned 18. Still, she managed to survive living in the forests of western Puerto Rico for ten years before learning the truth about herself, her dog, and the "witch" who has been watching over her all this time. Carmen has joined me for lunch and this interview.

LMH: Welcome, Carmen. Thank you for joining us. Can you please briefly introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background?

Carmen (eyes flitting around the room, fingers knotting and unknotting): Um, hola, um, my name is Carmen del Toro and I guess I'm the new familiar to the, are you going to eat those chips?

LMH: Here, you can have them. So, how about your back---

Carmen: How about that soda? And if you're not going to eat the crust...?

LMH: Go ahead, finish. I'll wait.

Carmen: Um-kay...done. What did you want to know?

LMH: Tell us a bit about how you became a familiar.

Carmen: Well, as Señora Milagros explained, there are three tests to becoming a familiar. The first one is that you have to be born with the predisposition. Then, you have to get through your teens with your belief in magic still intact. The third test is to make it through your twenties still believing.

LMH: Those don't sound much like tests. Can you explain a little bit more how that works?

Carmen: The genetics part is luck of the draw. A lot of people are born with the potential to evolve into familiars. I guess because so few make it through the next two tests so they have to make sure there are a lot to pick from so some survive. The second test, where most prospective familiars fail, comes from peer pressure. Belief in magic is an innate feature of sentient beings, but experience destroys it. When puberty hits, the desire to fit in takes over. Señora Milagros told me most teens deny their beliefs to be cool. Those who don't, pass the second test. I was luckier than most. Since I spent my teens in the hospital, I had lithium instead of peer pressure.

I didn't have much of a chance for the third test either. For most would-be familiars, that comes in their twenties, when people settle down to careers and family. All that bill-paying, keeping up the house, going to work makes it difficult to believe in magic. I was lucky that I lived in the forest so never had to worry about those things. I feel bad for those who lose all the magic in their life that way. I think it must hurt when belief turns to wishful thinking about what-could-have-beens. Very few pass this final test. Some of those who make it that far still carry a remnant of belief deep inside them, but their reservations disqualify them from familiarity.

LMH: Interesting. So what happens to those who still have some remnant of that belief in magic?

Carmen: They become writers and artists, actors and actresses, or movie producers. You know, trying to pretend they still have some magic left.

LMH: You mean, since I'm a writer, I might have been--

Carmen: Por favor, chica. All familiars are creative, it's true, but don't think that's the same as all creative people being familiars. Now, I guess we'll never know, will we? Pobrecita.

LMH: Oh, well, um, thank you for spending some time with us today, Carmen. I'm sure we all look forward to seeing what happens to you in the future.
Carmen: Yes, now, about that dessert you promised?

Thank you all for stopping by today. Now be sure to head over to my website's contact page and send a note to automatically be entered into today's drawing! (Don't worry--no one will see your return contact info--the page sends an email directly to me. I'm the only one who sees it, and I'm the only one who will contact you. I don't share your private info with anyone else.)

Congratulations to Connie Denison, yesterday's drawing winner!