Day of Execution by Lily Luchesi

January 1, 2019 - 5:41 pm No Comments

When Jim McLeod of Ginger Nuts of Horror posted that he wanted other blogger to help promote the LGBTQ authors out there, I jumped on board straightaway.

Today not only am I lucky to review Lily Luchesi’s latest work Day of Execution, the 7th book from the Paranormal Investigation Division series but I also have an author interview with her.

So first things first, here is my review on Day of Execution

Published by Vamptasy Publishing on 30th December 2018

179 pages

PID have survived Dakota’s threat, Angelica and Danny were still the rulers of the vampire world and Daniel was having training to improve his psychic ability. Everything was going back to normal and then the visions started up again.

Even though they were for-warned, they were still surprised by how much danger everyone was in. Keeping it lowkey, the story focuses on Angelica, Danny, Sean and Daniel. Angelica has always been full of confidence but this story just how vulnerable she was and how much she relied on Danny to be her rock. Some of the scenes I thoroughly enjoyed were the history of PID and how Angelica set it up. With so few characters I felt that I learnt more about Sean and could understand him more and his devotion to Angelica.   

This was a quick book to read and I read it in one sitting, wanting to know where the story was taking me. The author built the story up to a dramatic ending, which was non stop action for the last quarter of the book. I like others was left in shock so many times, I think I spent reading half the book gobsmacked as there were so many unexpected events. Whilst I am not giving anything away but I am glad there is one final book, although I am wondering where it is going, although I have my thoughts.  

I love this author’s work and always look forward to her books.

So without further ado here is the author herself.

Bio: Lily Luchesi is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing. She also has short stories included in multiple bestselling anthologies, and a successful dark erotica retelling of Dracula. Her Coven Series has successfully topped Amazon’s Hot New Releases list consecutively.
She is also the editor, curator and contributing author of Vamptasy Publishing’s Damsels of Distress anthology, which celebrates strong female characters in horror and paranormal fiction.
She was born in Chicago, Illinois, and now resides in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle. She is also an out member of the LGBT+ community. When she’s not writing, she’s going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading manga. And drinking copious amounts of coffee

Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

Hi! I’m Lily, USA Today bestselling author of horror and paranormal fiction. I am mildly obsessed with vampires and ghosts, and find studying the supernatural to be a fun pastime. I also love music, going to concerts, getting tattooed, and cooking. I’m also bisexual demiromantic, which gives me a deeper, more personal reason for writing LGBT+ characters.

Why horror? What is appeal of the genre to you as both a fan and as a writer?

I think that fear is such a primal emotion. Fear, lust, and anger are automatic things for most humans (some don’t experience lust). Writing about them in any capacity is thrilling. It’s a study in humanity at its most vulnerable.

As LBGTQ+ fan and writer of horror, how did you when you first became immersed in the genre and found that representation that you could identify was few and far between?

Oh that’s a good question. I think it was a few years back, before I even started writing, when I noticed queerbaiting in a favorite horror program of mine. It always seemed like the sexy hetero couple were the stars, the POC characters wound up dead first, and LGBT+ people didn’t exist. I remember even as a little girl wondering why no girls kissed girls, since I was a girl who wanted to kiss girls. I knew that I would include LGBT+ people in my work right away. Not as a statement, not to be political or politically correct, but because we exist and we’re valid.

How did you discover authors that wrote about characters that you could relate to? Other than the horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?

You might laugh, but comic books. Batwoman was my first bit of exposure to a LGBT+ strong female character. Currently, DC Comics has Sara Lance, Ava Sharpe, Nyssa Al Ghul, John Constantine, Lena Luthor, Curtis Holt, and Nora Allen as LGBT+ representation on their various TV shows. Soon they will have Kate Kane.
It took me a long time to find novels with LGBT+ characters. Now we have people like TL Travis, Piper Kay, Felicia Fox, Anna Stone, and Vicki Kinnaird (to name a few) writing LGBT+ fiction. It’s amazing to see so much representation.

The term horror, especially when applied to fiction always carries such heavy connotations. What’s your feeling on the term “horror” and what do you think we can do to break past these assumptions?

I think that many people believe “horror” means “evil”. No. Even while there are movies rooted in the occult (and my own books are as well), we don’t watch horror because we’re evil. Some people do, and honestly, those people are in the minority in the horror fandom.
For example, my tagline is “horror with heart”. I have gore, violence, creepy scenarios, and more, but there is also a strong sense of humanity in my books. In the Paranormal Detectives Series, for example, book four has a tearful, romantic goodbye between an ill fated couple after a violent vampire attack. You can’t properly scare people if they are not emotionally invested.
Horror isn’t about jump scares and Satan. It’s about the people to whom these things happen.

A lot of good horror movements have arisen as a direct result of the socio/political climate, considering the current state of the world where do you see horror going in the next few years?

This is another really great question. In the political climate, sadly my existence as a LGBT+ woman with mental health issues and income issues has become a target. I think that you will see many more LGBT+ people, people of color, and sick people writing more realistic horror. I think it will veer away from the fantastical and become more reality based, like The Purge.
I recently co-wrote a horror/Apocalypse novel called Soul Syndicate, where the world ends and only 9 people are left alive. Out of those nine, we have people from all races, religions, genders, and sexual orientations. Faith, my co-writer, and I weren’t trying to make a political statement, but yet it became one.
I personally hope that we see a lot of “oppressed rising up” as a trend in horror, as we showed in Soul Syndicate. But I don’t want to see horror lose its monsters and paranormal edge. In my books, I try to discuss important current issues, but present them as paranormal because that’s the fun with being a creator: horror gives us an unlimited arsenal of ideas and possibilities.

What are the books and films that helped to define you as an author?

Books: anything Stephen King; the first four Vampire Chronicles novels by Anne Rice; Dracula; Vampire Kisses series by Ellen Schreiber; Harry Potter series by JK Rowling; The Saga of Darren Shan by Darren Shan; The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Zac Brewer (nee Heather); anything by Poe; the Bronte sisters; Shakespeare.

Movies: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Queen of the Damned, Van Helsing, Die Hard, Underworld.

In recent years there has been a slow but gradual diversification within the genre, which new LBGTQ+ writers do you think we should be paying attention to?

I listed a few above, actually. So to them I will add JS Coatsworth, Layla Dorine, and Carmilla Voiez.

How would you describe your writing style?

You know, I’ve been writing professionally for four and a half years and I still can’t explain my style. Is ‘strong female characters with monsters’ a genre? While I do write gay characters (Brighton and Mark in PDS 3 and 4; Bloodspell; Soul Syndicate, Nick and Roger in The Coven Series), I mostly write strong women. Be they straight or LGBT+, my books don’t seem complete without one bad ass lady and a few monsters thrown in. I write fiction for all ages, races, orientations, and genders, but deep down I really, truly write for all the little girls like me. The creepy girls who wanted to kick butt while looking pretty and kissing cute boys (and other girls!). My MCs are usually Goth, like me, plus size, and strong willed. Because I never had representation growing up. Now I want to create that representation.

Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?

Many, but there’s one from Knightingale Reviews for my first novel Stake-Out, and they had this to say about my heroine, Angelica: “Angelica added a depth to the story and proudly represented females everywhere. C and I have an extremely hard time finding female characters that we actually enjoy reading about. Too many of them are whiny, unpleasant, indecisive, passive, or are just blind followers. Others have low self-esteem or retain this complex where they think they need a man to rescue them instead of saving themselves. Now, we’re not saying that these are terrible qualities or characteristics that lesson someone’s worth; it’s just that they are often qualities that are exploited or implemented so frequently that a girl seems weak. Angelica was just the opposite, though. She a true breath of fresh air. Angelica Cross can easily be described as headstrong and independent. However, she also doesn’t fit in among humans or supernatural creatures extremely well, a fact that she doesn’t let bring her down.”

What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?

That dreaded middle. I can write blurbs, beginnings, plot twists, and endings. That little middle part drives me mental, I swear. I find myself writing out of order, just so I can write the middle last!

Are there any subjects that you would never write about?

Nothing is off limits for me. I even touch on sexual assault in PDS4 and will again in PDS8. I would never, EVER describe it, but anything and everything in the world can become plot fodder for me.

Writing, is not a static process, how have you developed as a writer over the years?

I learned more about “show, don’t tell” as well as using a less omnipresent narrating voice. I think you can see my growth as you read my work from start to finish, and I am proud of all I learned.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing?

It came from Stephen King: write with the door close and edit with it open.
I tend to worry about what people will think when I write, especially as I was creating A Bloody Legacy and The Hunger Within (my BDSM lesfic stories). I had to remind myself that A), I am accurately depicting a lesbian bondage style relationship and B), I know what I’m talking about. Other people’s opinions shouldn’t matter.

Getting your worked noticed is one of the hardest things for a writer to achieve, how have you attempted to break through the barriers that are so often in place against LBGTQ+ writers?

I admit, it hurts going to bloggers and seeing “no LGBT+ work accepted”. Because not all LGBT+ books are sexual. Why can’t people read a book just because a boy loves a boy or a girl loves boys and girls?
When shopping Soul Syndicate to bloggers, it was hard to find reviewers because we have gay, trans, bi, and asexual characters in the story. And the roadblocks were immense.
But with the Paranormal Detectives Series and The Coven Series, I have gay, lesbian, and straight relationships, and have only received one poor criticism from a homophobe. I hate it when they say “there are too many gay characters” and “it’s unrealistic”. As a bi woman, I can tell you that us LGBT+ people often befriend each other because, originally, it was safer. It’s definitely not unrealisitc.
But that’s how I avoid some roadblocks: my LGBT+ characters are in books with straight characters, so it’s hard for someone to say “we can’t read this” when the main pairing is straight, and others are LGBT+. Sneaky? Maybe. But I am a Slytherin, after all.

Many CIS white male authors use LGBTQ+ characters in their works, what’s the mistake that they make when trying to portray these characters?

Making gay men overly effeminate. Not all gay men are like Jack from Will and Grace, but many straight men think so. And when it comes to women: bi women are NOT there just to have threesomes. I cannot stress this enough. And lesbian sex is … well … it’s sexy. It is. But lesbians do more than have sex. And straight men need to remember that. (Don’t get me started on the men who make lesbians “turn” straight. That makes me feel ill.)

Moving on to getting your work read by unwashed masses, what do you think ins the biggest misconception about LGBTQ+ fiction?

It’s all about sex. Yes, I write LGBT+ erotica. But the stories are about so much more than sex. Or that it’s only aimed at LGBT+ people. A majority of LGBT+ fiction writers and readers are heterosexual. If you’re reading this and unsure, don’t worry. Just come dip your toes in, you’ll probably find that you like it.

There are as number of presses dedicated to LGBTQ+ fiction, do you view these as a good thing, or do you think they help to perpetuate the ongoing exclusion from mainstream presses?

That’s like asking do I think BET is exclusion for POC. No. LGBT+ presses were created because we had nowhere else to go. Like the LOGO network. Now that mainstream presses are recognizing out work, that’s wonderful! But I will always stand by and support LGBT+ only presses. Because they were there for us when no one else was.

And here is the million dollar question do you agree with movements like this and things such as Women in Horror Month? If so how would you like to see sites such as Ginger Nuts of Horror tackle diversity?

I LOVE WiHM! I participate somehow every year. This year Vamptasy Publishing is releasing a horror anthology written solely by female authors called Another Beautiful Nightmare. My erotic horror is LGBT+ based, and I love being a diverse woman of horror. I want to see other lesbian, bi, trans, pan, and ace/aro women showcased both within fiction and as creators in the future.

The most common phrase you hear when people object to active movements to encourage all forms of diversity is “I don’t care about the sexuality, gender, color etc etc of the writer I only care about good stories” what would you like to say to these people?

It’s fine not to care. It’s great that you don’t think of it. But here’s the thing: you have to at least acknowledge it. The fact that I am a bi woman plays heavily in my work, so I would like it to be noted. Same for gay men or trans authors. Same with POC authors.
Like, I don’t care that TH Morris is a black man, but I do, however, care that he is a black man writing horror with a diverse cast in his books (The 11th Percent Series; it’s amazing!). Because it shows that diversity matters, inclusion matters. So straight, white, cis people: go on not caring. I love that you don’t care. But don’t mistake not caring for not recognizing. There’s a big difference.

To many writers, the characters they write become like children, who is your favorite child, and who is your least favorite to write for and why?

My favorite child is Angelica Cross, by far. She’s the lead in my Paranormal Detectives Series. She’s a vampire, businesswoman, government leader, hero, pansexual, woman. She infuriates me sometimes, but I love her to death.
Least favorite is probably Alicia Gordon, who is in books 1 and 2 of The Coven Series. She is the bully I hated my whole life given an immense amount of power.

What piece of your own work are you most proud of?

Never Again. It’s about a Jewish male siren who fights against Nazis and demons in WWII, proving that while hate never dies, heroes never die, either.

For those who haven’t read any of your books, which of your books do you think best represents your work and why?

Right To Silence (Paranormal Detectives Book 4). It’s written in two parts, the first part focusing on Brighton and Mark and their illicit romance in the Victorian era, and then moves into the present. It showcases what I’m best at: violence and love.

Do you have a favorite line or passage from your work, and would you like to share it with us?

Probably this one, from The Coven Heir (The Coven Series Book 2):

Sometimes the people who want to make you feel that way get past ‘consent’ and barrel right through your barriers like charging bulls. They rush into your head and start breaking everything they can find, marking their territory where they don’t belong. And before long, your head begins to get muddled, and then your heart takes on most of the burden of the emotional stress a bully puts on you.

Bullying leaves lasting damage that never really goes away. Its scar is garish and visible, barely healed. It can be ripped open at any moment, as fresh and bloody as it was while the abuse was still going on. Others can’t see the scar, but it’s there, hidden under the layers of concrete that you create to protect yourself, so that the pain can only be felt by you and you alone.

And when the pain finally does die down, it’s like you’re left in a desolate, dark room with no idea where to go from there. It damages every part of you, dampens your trust, makes you scared to feel happy in case the bully comes back again to rip your joy away from you.

Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?

My last book released is Day of Execution (Paranormal Detectives Book Seven), which is the penultimate book in that series and a real tearjerker. I can’t say much, but beta readers HATE me for that.
I am prepping for The Coven Rescue (The Coven Series Book Three), which is coming March 23rd.

What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?

I have not been reading as much as I’d like. The last really great book I read was Greyson Fox by TL Travis, which is a dark MM romance.
The last book that really disappointed me I read back in 2015. It was recommended as a “strong female lead” and it was anything but. Sure the lead kicked ass, but she wasn’t strong. She was a bully and did things no strong woman would ever do.

What’s the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? And what would be the answer?

This one surprised me. I am not sure. I have been asked so many questions, many of them interesting as this interview has been. One question I have only been asked once and I love is “if you could be in a story, which would it be?” I was asked that once and it really made me think. I’d want to be in a position of power in a medieval setting. To be able to make a good difference for my “kingdom”. I suppose that’s why my characters are Empresses and Princesses.

If you want to follow Lily Luchesi here are the links you need .

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