Hello everyone! Today I am so excited to welcome back the ever fabulous Rhys Ford! Rhys is here to chat with us about her upcoming release, Fish and Ghosts, coming out next week from Dreamspinner Press. Rhys has also brought a great excerpt and a fabulous giveaway to share, so check out details at the end of the post. Welcome Rhys!
First off, thank you for hosting me today, Jay!* I really appreciate it.
Oh, where to start? I suppose at the beginning—the way off beginning—when a kind of inspiration struck for Fish and Ghosts.
It all started with the saying; Fish and Guests stink after three days.
The saying alternates between stink and start to smell, either phrasing works because in the crazed warren of my often sleep-deprived brain, guests became ghosts. So of course the rational part of my mind—which often sighs in exasperation because it’s saddled with the rest of the loony Warner Brothers and Sister bits—declared what the fucking hell does THAT mean?
Much like a four year old trying to explain away the missing bag of Hershey kisses and the ring of melted chocolate all around its mouth, the bouncy squirrel bits got together and came up with—it’s a paranormal story about a guy—who um—sees ghosts—who only stay for three days! There you go, logical brain bit. Run with it! We’ll be over here playing with play-doh making naughty bits to hang on the neighbours’ mailbox.**
Logical Bit of Brain—who really needs a name—LogicBob! We’ll call it LogicBob! — anyway, LogicBob then took up its task of making some sense of this idiocy because see, I know myself very well. If I didn’t come up with a reasonable point for the SquirrelBoBs to have thought this up, I’d be stuck in some kind of earworm hell where the thought will circle back to me until I’m crazy(er).
So Tristan Pryce was born—a medium of sorts, a young man who is artistic, a bit socially awkward and basically sees and talks to ghosts. Tristan needed a place to talk to these ghosts so Hoxne Grange was built. I filled it with spectres and the like then LogicBob said, if this is going to be a project, there needs to be a conflict—a romance even. ‘Cause you know, sex is always good in a book.
Out of the metaphorical play-doh normally reserved for the SquirrelBobs, LogicBob took up the clay and created Wolf Kincaid—skeptic, parapsychologist and all around hot Scottish man with an obsession to debunking crackpots and liars.
And Tristan looked like he fit THAT description to the T.
Mix in a couple of technicians—literally a couple—who bring their own brand of chaos to Tristan’s front door and a book is born.
I’d planned for Fish and Ghosts to be a one off. Nothing more than a book. Really, how much more could I do with a guy who can not only see ghosts but speak with them and a skeptic ghost hunter?
Apparently a bit because I’m doing another.
Writing Fish and Ghosts was hands-down fun. Just fricking fun. Everyone was already murdered or dead so I didn’t have to worry about folding in a mystery and I could go full crack out with geekdom with Tristan who became a children’s book writer and illustrator along the way to pay his bills. Throw in a ghost dog who begs for an eternal game of Toss and repeating spirits and there I had it, a new series where I could pretty much dabble in both horror and humour—of sorts. *winks*
Less murder, more mayhem!
So here we go, down the rabbit hole once again—and this time, I’m bringing you all along for the ride.
* After so many years of typing Jae, my brain defaults to that spelling EVERY damned time. *grins*
** To be fair, I only did this once and they weren’t supposed to be naughty bits. They were actually fish but I was young and the back fins were rather round like where the body was an elongated oblong. You can bake play-doh in the sun. I thought they were nice gifts. Apparently everyone else thought I’d gone around hanging mini blue and green dongs along the street. Plebeians!
And now, an excerpt from Fish and Ghosts:
An explosion of flowers coming out of something porcelain and expensive blocked the young man, but Wolf was able to catch a peek through the artfully arranged rainbow of spiked flowers and pink-hued roses. Messy was a word Wolf would have used if fucking gorgeous hadn’t first come to mind. Even the messy was merely a casual disregard to the polish one would expect in a multi-million-dollar mansion rich people called a cottage.
The blond hair was a dirty mix of mica flecks, gold, and mink, running to darker hues underneath. Tousled around an aristocratic face, it framed high cheekbones Gidget would be sighing over if given the chance and an aquiline nose obviously unmarred by any sibling’s stray fist. He looked up from what he was doing, and Wolf would have sworn his eyes went black with displeasure. His lightweight sweater nearly matched the foyer’s seafoam-colored vase, but his face was a bit colder than the chill that seemed to sweep over Wolf as he stood waiting. From across the room, the man’s eyes appeared to be a brown as rich as the desk he stood behind, but as they drew closer, Wolf caught a bit of amber and green in their depths.
He’d been right about the anger, though. The man Wolf assumed was Tristan Pryce tightened his mouth as they drew near, and his changeable sage-brown eyes narrowed slightly. The talking to himself continued, a rolling, plush rasp hammered with those damned silver spoons and something darker Wolf couldn’t identify.
Behind him, Matt and Gidget wandered about the foyer, enraptured with its art and furniture, but Wolf only had eyes for the man in front of him.
“It’s all right if you can’t sign your name,” the man purred at a spot to the left of him, nodding politely at nothing. “Many people spend their lives doing more important things than learning to write. Let me register you and get you a room.”
It seemed like Auntie Mrs. Walter Pryce The Third definitely had a leg to stand on. Hell, she had enough legs to give a horny centipede a hard-on.
“James Rhodes?” He spelled out the last name, and that mouth turned wicked with a knowing smile. “We’ll just say that’s right, then. Where are you from?”
The man’s head tilted, spilling out golden strands over his shoulder. Wolf cleared his throat, and the blond ignored him, pretending to listen intently to the space in front of him. Gidget came up behind Wolf, either bored or curious about the man talking to himself.
“What’s he doing?” she whispered into Wolf’s ear.
“I have no fucking clue,” he admitted softly. “I think he’s pretending to check someone in. It is an inn after all.”
“So should I unload the stuff, or we’re just calling it a crazy and heading home?”
“Unload.” Wolf jerked his chin toward the owner. “He’s wrapping that up, by the sounds of it. Supposedly, Mrs. Walter called ahead. Let’s see if she’s made this easier or harder for us.”
“Enjoy your stay, Mr. Rhodes. Dinner will be served tonight promptly at seven in the large hall, and there should be dancing in the ballroom later. Your room is on the second floor to the right.” The man closed the large book he’d been writing in and motioned to a birdcage elevator set between the two staircases leading up to the second floor. “If you need anything, please let me know, and welcome to Hoxne Grange.”
Wolf strode across the lobby floor toward the blond, squaring his shoulders as he went. From the jut of the other man’s jaw, Wolf knew he was going to be in for a battle, and the growl that greeted him did nothing to persuade him otherwise.
When his Uncle Mortimer died and left him Hoxne Grange, the family’s Gilded Age estate, Tristan Pryce knew he wasn’t going to have an easy time of it. He was to be the second generation of Pryces to serve as a caretaker for the estate, a way station for spirits on their final steps to the afterlife. The ghosts were the simple part. He’d been seeing boo-wigglies since he was a child. No, the difficult part was his own family. Determined to establish Tristan’s insanity, his loving relatives hire Dr. Wolf Kincaid and his paranormal researchers, Hellsinger Investigations, to prove the Grange is not haunted.
Skeptic Wolf Kincaid has made it his life’s work to debunk the supernatural. After years of cons and fakes, he can’t wait to reveal the Grange’s ghostly activity is just badly leveled floorboards and a drafty old house. The Grange has more than a few surprises for him, including its prickly, reclusive owner. Tristan Pryce is much less insane and much more attractive than Wolf wants to admit and when his Hellsinger team unwittingly release a ghostly serial killer on the Grange, Wolf is torn between his skepticism and protecting the man he’d been sent to discredit.
Rhys is giving away a $15 gift certificate to Amazon or the ebook retailer of your choice. Just leave a comment to enter. The contest closes on Friday, December 27th at 11:59 pm EST.
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