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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!


  1. Hello

    Congratulations! I look forward to seeing all your characters in print.

    Jennifer Killby