Do you write in different genres?
I do! However, I’ve only published in three so far: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, and Contemporary Romance. I have written Horror and Science Fiction/Dystopia, but they are not scheduled to release until next year.
If yes which is your favorite genre to write?
My favorite is Urban Fantasy because I love the action, the magic, and first person point of view. It’s fun to immerse myself in another persona, which is what I need to do to write in first person. Urban Fantasy tends to be more action packed than Paranormal Romance, but I do enjoy PR, as well.
How did you come up with the title for your latest book?
The title of the series, Little Flame, came from the main character’s first name Fiamette, which means, you guessed it, little flame in Italian. But the titles for the books themselves is actually a fun idea I came up with. Each title was inspired by a concert venue in a different city. Some I’ve been to, some not. For example: Nine30 was inspired by the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., which I have been to often. The second book, Electric, was inspired by the Electric Factory in Philadelphia. I was there once a few years ago. Just for fun, can you guess which venues inspired StarLand, LimeLight, and Echo? Hint: the venues are located in the location setting of each book.
Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?
I usually title the book while I’m coming up with the general story line of the book. By the time I’ve done some research and character development, I have a good idea of what the title will be. I like the titles to have layers of meaning, so it’s a process, but I usually know the title before I finish the first draft.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Mostly I want readers to grasp that we are capable of more than we think we are, and that we are strongest when we ask for help. Life is rough sometimes, and we all need friends to get by. <3 o:p="">3>
What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Grave Peril, the third book in the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. Loving this series! I’m completely involved in the world, the characters, and the story arcs. I really love the detective novel style with the added bonus of allt he magic.
What books are in your to read pile?
Too many! Lol! I guess you don’t become a writer without being an avid reader first. Next up on my TBR pile is the first book in the Stephanie Plum series, One for the Money by Janet Evanovich. Friends have been urging me to read this series for years and I’m finally getting around to it. Also in my TBR pile: 11/22/63 by Stephen King, Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Old Man’s War by John Scalzi, and Legally Undead by Margo Bond Collins.
What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?
I’m finishing up Head, #10 in the Little Flame series, and also the final book in the series. It’s sweet and also sad to be ending the series, but I’m excited to start my next series, Southern Charms. This one will be a lighter style Paranormal Romance and I’m looking forward to the change in pace. I’m also working on a novella for a special multi-author series, The Hotel Paranormal. My novella is titled Skin Thief and it’s scaring me just a little. More gruesome than anything I’ve written so far.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure! I’ve got an excerpt from Skin Thief I can share…
I squeezed the steering wheel until my knuckles turned white and my hands ached.
“Damn it,” I snapped. Putting the car in park, I snatched my cell phone from the console but never took my eyes off the unassuming metal door he had passed through.
Tapping the number, I pressed the phone to my ear while clenching my jaw. An image flashed in my mind: a skinless face, red muscle, white tendons, blood, bulging round white eyes and an open mouth with no lips screaming forever and ever, unable to close it’s eyes, unable to stop seeing the horror…unable to stop feeling the horror, even after death.
I closed my eyes against the nausea. I would never, as long as I lived, get over the sight or the smell in that dank basement. John said I would one day, that with each case it would get easier, sort of, but that scared me even more. I’d rather vomit tomato bisque all over my shoes every time than become that callous.
“Ninovan? What’s the news?” John answered.
“He slipped through a Hotel door. One I didn’t know about.”
“Where are you?”
I gave him the church’s address I was parked in front of. It was small by most standards, brick, and unassuming, just like the side door Quil Boudinot had disappeared through, even though the top half was that crisscrossed reinforced glass. One minute he was there, opening the door, then he glanced over his shoulder, had the audacity to glare at me, as if I were the psychotic one, then he stepped through and literally disappeared.
“The door is down a handicap ramp, metal, no markings. Looks like it might lead to an all-purpose room in the church basement. It’s below ground level.” I shifted in my seat rummaging around in my bag for my camera. Yeah, silly, I know, when all cell phones have built in cameras but sometimes, like now, I needed to take a picture and talk at the same time, which I did. I snapped a few more one-handed, then tucked the mini Nikon back in the leather backpack.
“I’m going in.” I unsnapped the seatbelt and swung open the door, still holding the cell to my ear. “Send someone for my car, okay? I don’t want it towed.” I slammed the door.
“Nina, no. The Council has absolutely no power there. It’s another world, for the love of Wakan. The Hotel doesn’t play by anyone’s rules. You might not even be able to apprehend him there. That blasted place is a haven for anarchists and criminals—“
“You’re wrong, John. I don’t think it’s like that. I’ve been there, remember? And if there’s a psychotic murderer staying there, I think the Hotel will do something about it.” My head wasn’t a hundred percent sure about that, but my gut seemed to be and I trusted it more.
“They don’t adhere to the same principles, Ninovan.” John’s voice turned growling and fierce. “They have no soul.”
Do you have to travel much to do research for your books?
I guess I don’t have to, but when I get a chance, yes! I love to actually walk the streets of a city I want to base a story in. I like to open the door to a church, or sit in a café in that city, get the feel of it, smell the smells, you know? I try to work in a couple trips each year to someplace I’ve been considering as a location for a novel. Because I write paranormal, the other research tends to be on the internet or reading books on spells, spirits, and mythology for the most part, so getting away from my desk and exploring a new town is a breath of fresh air.
Recently, I spent some time in England: Stratford-upon-Avon, Cambridge, London, among other places and I can’t wait to work in my experiences. I was particularly enthralled with the Cam River in Cambridge. I went punting (boating in a punt, a flat bottomed boat that is pushed along by a punter, a kind of gondolier) and the experience has already weaved itself into a story. :-D
Who designed the cover of your latest book?
The cover for the Box Set was designed by Stephanie Nelson. She also designed the covers for my Love and Light Series, but as far as the individual covers for the Little Flame series…I’m not sure if I should tell but I, well, I designed the covers for the whole series myself. *blushes*
I know we’re not supposed to make our own covers, but they’re simple and maybe not what you think of when you think about Urban Fantasy. I wanted something colorful and eye-catching. Also, as you can imagine, 10 covers by a professional cover artist costs a lot, soooo I took it on, knowing my limitations, and kept it simple. I think they turned out wonderfully.
Do you have a song or playlist (book soundtrack) that you think represents this book?
Yes! Music is a huge part of the Little Flame series so I made a playlist for each book.
Here’s the one that goes with the first book, Nine30, which is part of the Little Flame Box Set, Vol. 1:
Here’s the one that goes with the first book, Nine30, which is part of the Little Flame Box Set, Vol. 1:
Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites Skrillex
Breakin’ A Sweat Skrillex ft. The Doors
Ticking Away Everlast
Just Got Paid ZZ Top
Heads Will Roll Yeah Yeah Yeah
Fort Knox Goldfish
Right on Time Skrillex, 12th Planet, Kill the Noise
Sweet Sour Band of Skulls
Joining You Alanis Morissette, Christopher Fogel
Doses &Mimosas Cherub
And here’s a link to my Spotify version of the Nine30 Playlist:
Little Flame Series Box Set
Books 1 - 5
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Peacepipe Productions
Date of Publication: September 30, 2014
Number of pages: 495
Word Count: 155K
Cover Artist: Stephanie Nelson
Fiamette Jurato is on a mission: to fix her broken past. She’s teamed up with the world famous DJ, Maximillian, to search for the ex lover who can help her put all the pieces back together. There’s only one problem: he’s been dead for over two hundred years.
As a healer to the supernatural, she’s no stranger to navigating the impossible maze of magical complications. But getting lost in the magic isn’t the problem; finding her way back home is.
The club lights blinked out, and in the humming dark an amplified voice yelled, “Give it up for Maximillian!”
Laser lights flashed around the smoky stage, revealing human-shaped shadows and a DJ setup.
“Make some noise,” the DJ yelled.
A spotlight strobed across the scene, then snapped back to the DJ. I stopped adjusting my white go-go boots and squinted, trying to get a good look at him. The crowd roared as he leaned over to a beanie-wearing guy on his right, a cigarette dangling from his lips. Beanie-guy cupped the end of the cig and flicked a lighter. Smoke obscured the DJ’s face and I sighed. I wanted to see him, dang it. I’d been running late tonight and missed the usual meet-and-greet. Story of my life.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” the DJ mumbled into the mic as he twisted knobs and pushed buttons, puffing smoke and music into the air.
Even with the spotlights, the details of his face were buried under swirling smoke and pulsing laser beams looping the hazy club. The first high notes picked like an electric guitar sample, and words I couldn’t make out repeated in jittery bursts over a subdued bass. Black lights flipped on, turning teeth and all things white into glow-in-the-dark neon. The fog machines bellowed clouds of dry ice that burned my nose. Damn, shouldn’t I be immune to it after so many shows?
Rising up from my kneeling squat, boots finally tied, I dropped my hula hoops onto the platform, then set one thigh-high boot at a time inside the circles. Jutting a white-sequined hip, I waited for the music to build to that explosion of bass and high-pitched alarms that had been driving me deaf the past two months. Yet, I couldn’t say I hated the job. I’d tried different settings, but this was definitely the best fishing spot. The catch I was after liked the nightlife and large crowds.
And this club was packed to the gills. Good. Better pickins. I bent with deliberate flare, popping my ass into the air and giving it a shake as I scooped up one of the glowing hoops and spun it around my hips. I gyrated and dipped, swinging the hoop higher around my exposed midsection, my arms swaying to the music. I didn’t have to think about my next move. It poured out of me like the music from the DJ’s hands. I turned in lazy circles, taking in the jumping crowd as one living, breathing beast. Individual faces surfaced in rare glimpses.
When I completed a 360-degree turn, the bright eyes of the DJ arrested me. I sucked in a breath. He was the hottest thing in L.A. at the moment, exploding all over the music scene. His lips twisted in a sideways Popeye grin, and holding my gaze with penetrating eyes, he flipped black hair over his shoulder and winked. Damn! Heat flushed through me in a prickly flood, followed by a startling surge of disappointment when he returned his attention to the MIDI boards.
He bobbed up and down, one hand constantly flickering as it tweaked the boards in front of him. Everything about him moved to the music, even the occasional finger jabbing his black-rimmed glasses back.
The music decelerated as he pulled the cigarette from his mouth and raised it to the sky, granting the crowd a huge smile that said something mind-blowing was about to happen. The mass of bodies bayed in anticipation. He tucked his smoke back between his lips, and his shoulders rocked as he worked at bringing the music. He raised his palms to the crowd, encouraging them to take it up a notch, and they obliged with glee.
Suddenly, he lifted his euphoric face to the sky, swaying back and forth in focused ecstasy. One arm shot up, an index finger pointing the way to heaven, as he squeezed his eyes shut.
A synthesized female voice cried out, “OOOH MY GOD – god – god – god - god!”
Music burst in a sizzling shower over the DJ and crowd as they leaped together to its driving beat. It got to me. He got to me. I licked the heavy gloss I’d applied preshow before I realized what I was doing, and pressed my lips together trying to fix it. Things lower clenched. Too bad he’s so young. I sighed. And not a vampire.
A tingling on the back of my legs dragged my attention back to my goal for the evening. Peeking over my shoulder, I drove the hoop around my hips, the LEDs smearing white and seven-colored orbits over my mostly bare body. Turning toward a pair of crimson eyes, I dropped my Day-Glo-painted eyelids to half-mast as his burning gaze slid over my boy-shorted backside.
My white halter top glowed in the black light as the strobes made the sequins flash like Christmas lights. The music paused unexpectedly and the DJ mumbled into the mic, “I just finished this song half an hour ago on the tour bus.”
The horde screamed its ridiculous approval. When he turned the music back on, I kicked the second hoop into play. It was all improvised, of course. I had no idea what the DJ was going to do during the show, and he apparently hadn’t known either, considering I never got a playlist. So, to prepare, I’d practiced to all his music all week. This song sounded familiar, but if he’d just created it, I guess it had to do with absorbing his style.
The blipping sample of a laser blast penetrated my sternum, my heart tripping with it. As a quiet drum calmed the moment, I returned the hot stare of my quarry. I couldn’t make out the details of his features, but when I blurred my gaze and tapped into what most healers referred to as their “third eye”, I could see the subtle energy pulse of his aura: definitely vampire. Anticipation bubbled up my spine.
About the Author:
Melissa Lummis writes new age suspense in a fantasy setting, but her stories are also straight up, steamy adult romance. The Love and Light Series is currently available at Amazon exclusively, as well as the Little Flame Series, a spin off focusing on the character Fiamette from the Love and Light world.
Melissa considers herself a truth seeker and a peaceful warrior, in addition to a paranormal and fantasy author. With too many interests for her own good, she has rarely been content with one vocation. Her first professional life was as a high school English teacher, which led to another incarnation as a wife and an instructional designer /technical writer. After starting a family, she found herself reincarnated yet again as a mother, yoga instructor, and personal trainer.
While all her past lives have contributed to who she is today, yoga has become a part of how she gives back, maintaining her Registered Yoga Teacher status with Yoga Alliance so she can help people one-on-one to overcome physical limitations and heal themselves. But she has always been and always will be a writer. She’s authored dozens of wellness articles for various publications, as well as maintains a blog focusing on wellness, healing, and living a life on purpose.
A Yankee by birth and a Penn State graduate, she lives in rural Virginia with her husband, two children, an Alaskan Malamute, and a myriad of forest creatures. Melissa believes the universe conspires to help an adventurer, and if we live our lives as if it is a daring escapade (and it is!), then everything we need will find its way to us.