Thursday, January 30, 2020

Book Tour and Giveaway: The Truth About Night (The Merci Lanard Files #1) by Amanda Arista

Title: The Truth About Night 
Series: The Merci Lanard Files #1
Author: Amanda Arista 
Publication Date: January 21st 2020
Print Length: 275 pages
Genre: Paranormal Mystery 
As an investigative journalist, Merci Lanard has an uncanny knack for getting the truth out of people, a talent she uses to expose the real story behind her city’s most gruesome crimes.

Until one night, when her partner, Ethan, is killed.

Reeling from shock and grief, Merci vows to track down his murderer. As she starts digging, she meets Ethan’s estranged brother, Rafe, who agrees to work with Merci to find his brother’s killer. She soon discovers Ethan had been hiding things from her, mainly that he was a Shifter and had a whole life in a supernatural world she knew nothing about.

A Shifter himself, Rafe introduces Merci to magic she never knew existed. As they work together to uncover hidden connections between Ethan's murder and a series of strange dead bodies, they find themselves in the crosshairs of a turf war for the soul of the city.

If Merci is to have any hope of saving her city, she will have to face the truth about this war, the truth about this new magical world, and the truth about who she truly is.

“She’s lying!”

The words echoed across the parking lot, and everyone turned. They turned because it was a show; it was a spectacle at a funeral. It distracted people from their loss and own sense of mortality.

I turned around because this voice felt like someone sliding a blanket across my skin. The static in my brain rose to greet this new sensation, as did the hairs on the back of my neck.

The man I’d seen fighting with Levi stormed across the parking lot straight toward me. Hayne tried to step between us, but I restrained him with an outstretched hand. I’d never hidden behind Hayne before, I wasn’t about to start now. I would face him as I faced all threats, head on.

When he stopped before me, my skin singed under his teal-blue eyes and the anger that poured off of him. He glared at me, the arch of his eyebrow giving a wicked articulation to a presence that felt bigger than his body. Who was he? What were he and Levi fighting about? Why had he called me a liar? The questions started circling around in my brain and the sizzle to answer them was like Frankenstein’s monster being brought back to life.

“You’re lying about what happened that night.”

My body reanimated with the new electricity running through it. I took my time with my answer as I collected details. The who’s and what’s of the situation. Accent was Scottish. Couldn’t be family. He was smaller than Ethan. The suit was new from the smell of it. And, seriously, those eyes were as deep as an ocean trench.

“I never lie about anything,” I answered, keeping my voice steady and my nerves calm.

He thrust his finger at me. “You got him killed.”

Oh, the game was on now. A smile played across my lips as the current danced around my head, tingling and tightening the hairs at the nape of my neck, “You really want to do this here?”

“Yes. Here.” His glare deepened. “I need to know.”

It was comforting to feel the familiar chill down my spine as I slipped into interrogation mode.

“Did you see the initial police report?” I asked.

“It was a load of shite.”

The police report didn’t have much in it because I didn’t have much to tell. Even now, after three days of reliving it in my head, there was very little I could articulate about what had happened. And I’d never give up Benny as my informant—his ass was mine. “What do you think happened?”

“Ethan was targeted. Either by your stupidity or—” He snapped his mouth shut as the words nearly spilled out of him.

“Or what?” My voice somehow remained calm though I was vibrating on the inside with anticipation, like a high schooler with their first cup of coffee.

Tension filled his jaw and his entire body as he restrained himself from speaking.

I bit my lip to keep the questions inside. Who was this man? Why did he think that Ethan’s death was on me? What did he think happened that night? They were all right there, the questions, beating against the inside of my skull like a swarm of angry bees against a window.

He took another step toward me. I watched his lips, the flush of his cheek as he spoke. “I will find out what happened.”

I didn’t back down. Never backed down. “No, I will. He was my partner.”

His nostrils flared, and his knuckles went white at his sides. “Aye, but he was my brother.”

It was like steel bat to my midsection, and all the air left me in one quick assault.

Ethan never mentioned a brother.

Amanda was born in Illinois, raised in Corpus Christi, lives in Dallas but her heart lies in London. Good thing she loves to travel.

During the summer after second grade, she read every book in the young adult section of the library, much to the surprise of the local librarian. So she started making up her own stories and hasn’t stopped.

She has a husband who fights crime, one dog who thinks he’s a real boy, and another who might be a fruit bat in disguise. She recently added a tiny human to the mix who is following in her mother’s footsteps of storytelling.

Along with her BA in English & Psychology and her MA in Education, Amanda is a graduate of the SMU Creative Writing Program and now teaches other aspiring authors. She has delivered lectures at several writer conferences and loves discussing craft, character, and structure. Her current favorite: Stirring up Trouble with Romantic Subplots.

She is represented by Kimberly Brower, of Brower Literary & Management.

Random Facts:
- Amanda is adopted and loves to share that story with others to promote adoption.
- Amanda has a collection of turtle figurines that collects on her travels.
- Amanda has a strange love of cheesy horror movies. She prefers demons and witchcraft to slasher films.
- Amanda is a really good bowler and completely rocks at croquet.

- Describe yourself in six words or less.
Adorable, tall, adventurous, coffee hobbyist, woman extraordinaire

- When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In the back of my head, there has always been a little girl declaring herself a writer. I finished my first story in 3rd grade and I’ve been writing ever since. But I dared not say the word writer out loud. The first time I felt like I had the right to use the word was when I finished my first novel. It was no longer a strange hobby, something that I did late at night hidden from the world, but something that I was. After that, I realized how much of being a writer fundamental changes the way you look at the world around you. How you see story in everything, a beginning, middle and end in all art, people, and things.

- Why write about the paranormal?
From the very first story in third grade, the supernatural has been in all my stories. The Those Who Wander universe pretty much takes up the left half of my brain entirely. Ironically enough, I love the humanness of the monsters and their plights. Their struggle is one of balance and extremes and I love teetering on the ledge of that how much of us is monster versus human. It is in their extreme abilities and senses and sight that I feel things get more raw and therefore more beautiful.

- Which do you think is more important in your book, plot or characterization?
I knew Merci before I knew what obstacles I was going to throw in her path. I knew I wanted this hardened, slightly alcohol-dependent investigative journalist with this knack for the truth. I feel that characters determine their plot and that every plot point is designed to hinder the characters path to the easiest way out. Merci’s ultimate task is to have to rely on others to get the truth, which is something that she is loathed to do at the beginning of the book. It was also really challenging to come up with situations where Merci couldn’t just investigate her way out of something and allowed me to develop more craft along the way.

- Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
I don’t outline until I know who the character is, which means that I’ll write out a couple of scenes in my head and then figure out who they are and what tortures I’m going to put them through. The technical term for that is a ‘pantser,’ or a person who just writes by the seat of their pants and goes where the characters take them.

I cast my books with actors so that I can get a good visual picture of them. I have a profile on Pinterest that’s nothing but pictures of people who are the physical representation of the characters. My husband calls it my Tiger Beat.

Coffee! I have to write with a cup of hot coffee and a package of Junior Mints or M&Ms. I tend to bribe myself with candy for every good sentence I write.

I talk to myself and do happy dances in my seat when something finally works out. I’m pretty animated. Helps me work off the chocolate I’m consuming.

- Other than writing, what are some of your passions in life?
I love to bake, specifically taking a junk food and making it in cupcake form. Makes me popular at work. Currently the most requested on is Snickers.

I’m really passionate about teaching and helping writer’s find their voice. I love working with new ideas and new themes and helping others craft their story nuggets to send out into the world.

- What can readers expect next from you?
The second installment of the Merci Lanard trilogy will be out later this year and I’m also putting together an author’s edition of the Diaries of an Urban Panther series that will connect to the Merci books with a novella.
Win a $50 Amazon gift card or a Merci Lanard swag pack! 
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  1. I like the book cover. It's very mysterious!

  2. This sounds like a book I would enjoy. I mostly read PNR these days but I do occasionally enjoy other genres with a touch of paranormal added to them.

  3. What was your favourite book as a kid?

    1. Hello there- Just jumping in. My favorite book was The Neverending Story. I found a copy with dual-colored text (one color for each world) and legitimately thought it was magic.

  4. What authors do you enjoy reading?

  5. I like the cover...I always enjoy a little creepy feel in photos and books.

  6. I like how haunting the cover it. Thank you

  7. Everyone is talking about the haunting cover...that’s the first step for me...then if I am lucky, the excerpt or synopsis draws me in the rest of the way. I have got to read this!

  8. A dark and lonely night. Cool book cover.

  9. I have not read many paranormal mysteries so this one is a must!

  10. I love the ominous, spooky cover. The book sounds very intriguing.

  11. I haven't read a shifter story in awhile.

  12. I really love the cover's colors! I've read a couple of shifter books, and this one sounds good!

  13. This book sounds good. I definitely want to know more.

  14. love the cover it's spooky looking .