Thursday, July 21, 2022

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Finding Persephone by P.J. Braley

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Finding Persephone by P.J. Braley. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as the inspiration behind the book. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
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Title: Finding Persephone
Author: P.J. Braley
Publisher: Liminal Books
Publication Date: June 7th 2022
Print Length: 399 pages
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
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Caroline Taylor is very good at pretending.

The polished surface of her life appears perfect until the morning a smitten grad student brings the cracks in her illusions into sharp focus. No longer willing to live a lie, Caroline’s journey of transformation sets her on a collision course with Dr. Grant Gates. Blinded by his quiet power, good looks, and impressive credentials, Caroline fails to see that Grant is also very good at pretending.

Created from flesh and fire, Grant has a past he would like to forget, an assignment he cannot reveal, and a forbidden obsession with his newest client whose beautiful eyes miss nothing. As the enforcer of an underground brotherhood, he must protect their secrets at any cost, but Grant is determined that Caroline will not become his latest victim. Striking a devil’s bargain to keep the woman he has been searching for safe from his brothers’ plans, Grant struggles to hide who–and what–he is until he becomes her only hope of escape...but will he let her go?

There’s not a chance in Hell.

A contemporary retelling of the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone, Finding Persephone is a compelling tale of an alien assassin's search for absolution and the human woman who becomes the catalyst and heart of his redemption.

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BOOK TRAILER:
Watch the book trailer below or by clicking here.

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EXCERPT:
Why was she different?

He, more than anyone else in the colony, knew how a single curious mind could affect the colony’s safety.

Taking the nearest employees’ exit to the catwalks, Grant scanned the building to make sure no one was around to see him. He grabbed the black metal railing with both hands. Even as he fought the urge to kill her, he found himself calculating the different ways he could lure her into one of the empty rooms where he could sedate her and devour her at his leisure.

The image of the gold ring on her left hand flitted through his mind. A woman with a job and family couldn’t just disappear. Well, she could, but inquiries would be made. A quick risk assessment put killing her out of immediate consideration. Nevertheless, he had to do something. In the facility for less than an hour and she suspected—out loud—that certain areas were designed to elicit a specific response. Allowing that level of awareness to continue unmonitored was more than dangerous; it was reckless.

What else would she notice in the days, weeks, and months ahead? And why now, when they were so close…

Working with a non-negotiable deadline, Grant knew he could not allow anything—or anyone—to delay or distract his brothers from achieving their objective on time. His hands tightened and twisted on the rail. He tried to imagine them on her neck but instead saw the way her eyes lit up when she smiled. His hands slowly relaxed.

She would see nothing.

For reasons he did not fully understand, Dr. Grant Gates decided to let Mrs. Caroline Taylor live a little longer.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Deciding that copyediting other writers’ manuscripts was not enough, PJ Braley decided to do something about it. Purchasing a new laptop because new beginnings require new tools, she began transitioning from copy editor to author. Her debut novel, The Fire Slayers, blended science fiction with love, friendship, and horror. Her newest book, Finding Persephone, takes all those genres a step further when an alien assassin charged with keeping the secrets of their underground brotherhood at all costs risks everything when he falls in love.

When PJ isn’t writing novels about aliens saving the planet, you can find her sitting on the sun deck with her husband, Jim, and their rescue corgi, Nymeria. She will be the one with a book in one hand and a glass of sangria in the other.

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GUEST POST:
- What or who inspired you to write a retelling about Hades and Persephone?

Excellent question!

Like many books, Finding Persephone was a work in progress for a long time. I only knew two or three things for certain when I started writing. The first was that the main male character was the assassin of an underground alien society, the second that he falls in love with a human woman, and the third, that such a relationship was forbidden and he would find it difficult to keep her.

As an avid reader of history, myths, and legends of all kinds, the idea of blending the myth of Hades and Persephone with a contemporary love story incorporating these two main characters came to me in the early stages of writing Finding Persephone. While that decision made developing some of their characteristics, motivations, and actions easier, crafting Grant’s character became more challenging.

As Grant is both the protagonist and the antagonist, it was necessary to instill certain complexities as part of his identity. One of those complexities is that Grant is not only an assassin but a fire slayer, which means he can send pain, like bursts of lightning, into the minds of his brothers. For many of the fire slayers, this power is a minor part of their communication abilities, but Grant is slowly being consumed by the pain from the fire that exists within him and craves nothing more than the kind touch of a human woman – something he has not known since he was a small child.

As essential as Grant is to the story, Caroline inspired the title. Grant is unexpectedly attracted to her, and as her importance to him increases, she becomes the voice and moving force of the narrative arc. When Caroline finds herself in an impossible position, Grant offers her refuge in an underground human habitat he has designed for her comfort. Believing she is in love, she accepts his offer and joins him there without realizing that he has not created this sanctuary for her – but for himself.

Excerpt from Finding Persephone:
…and he knew, most importantly,

that he could have been held responsible for her death—

the death of a surviving and compliant human mother—

the one thing the collective, with all its accumulated wealth, could not buy.

Borrowing from Greek mythology, the aliens who lived near the Mediterranean called such priceless women Persephone.

The bride of Hades, god of the underworld,

who was stolen from her world of light

and carried down into his kingdom of darkness

to rule beside him.

Forever.
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GIVEAWAY:
P.J. Braley will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Goddess Fish Promotions and the author assume all responsibility over this giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

63 comments:

  1. I just want to thank you for presenting Finding Persephone on your beautiful website. I hope your readers enjoy the excerpt and a little background and insights into writing a contemporary novel inspired by ancient myths. I would love to hear from them regarding their own writing process and inspirational sources.
    I think this is going to be a wonderful day!
    Thank you again, PJ

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    1. Thank you! And thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. My readers are awesome, so I'm sure you'll have some great conversations. =)

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  2. Looks like an amazing and crazy romance

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    1. Paige, I was going to say that "crazy" isn't exactly the word I'd use, but given the risks Grant takes when he decides to follow his heart...it borders on madness. So, I think that is a perfect word.

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  3. This sounds so fun! Thanks for the chance!

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    1. Sue, Thank you and I wish you every success!

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  4. I'm intrigued and cannot wait to find out what Grant is

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    1. katieoscarlet (I love that name!) - Not even Caroline finds out what Grant is until near the end of the book, so no peeking! LOL.

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  5. Sounds like a great book.

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    1. I think everyone hopes to write a great book someday; I'm not sure this is mine; I only know I smiled when I finished writing it and felt like I really accomplished something. I hope you do, too.

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  6. this sounds like an interesting book

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    1. wghutton, Well, I tried to make it enjoyable with aliens in love, betrayal, murder, etc., and a Greek myth as my inspiration and outline. What other science fiction books have you read and enjoyed?

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  7. Replies
    1. Jamie, I answered your question in the last post, but honestly, my answer to that answer changes every day because every day, I meet people or read of people who are making remarkable strides in making the world a better and healthier place to live. They are the champions...all of them. :-)

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  8. This book sounds extremely interesting!

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    1. Stephanie, there are so many paths a writer can take when writing fiction. When I started writing Finding Persephone, I knew exactly how it would flow, and then, along the way, a minor character just hijacked the narrative. Instead of pulling it back to fit my outline, I followed it as it twisted and turned and, in my mind, became a much better story. Have you ever done that? Thought you knew exactly how a story would be told and discovered another path?

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    1. Daniel, Thank you. Writing aliens who are very good at hiding in plain sight gave me many options with character and plot. It took years to get the narrative arc of Finding Persephone straight in my mind before I started writing ... and even then, I found myself changing the characters and plot even as I was writing just by being open to other possibilities. What other science fiction books do you like?

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  10. Sounds like a very good book.

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    1. Sherry, Thank you! Finding Persephone was so much fun to write because once I left my well-thought-out outline behind, I wasn't always sure what would happen next. Finding out was just exciting for me writing as I hope it will be for readers. Changing heroes - like horses - in the middle of a stream can be very dangerous, but sometimes you just have to follow your instincts. Do you always know how your stories will flow before you start writing?

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  11. Wow! Thank you for all the encouraging comments, and I genuinely hope you enjoy discovering not only who but what Grant is.
    Jamie, you asked who my greatest champion is, and that is a very easy question to answer. My greatest champion is everyone who takes the time to make a positive difference in someone else's life. Like you all have today...I am just shimmering with positivity this evening...and, as Grant would say, "thank you for that." :-)

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    1. Thomas, thank you very much. It is so exciting. I get to talk about Finding Persephone every day and meet writers and readers I would never have met otherwise. Every day this week has been an adventure. Are you a writer? What genre of fiction do you prefer?

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  13. This sounds like an interesting book and I also like the cover.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

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    1. Thank you, abfantom...an alien assassin falls in love...what could go wrong? Almost everything. LOL. The cover art of Finding Persephone was a collaborative project. I was so lucky to be working with graphic artist Suzanne Johnson, who combined all of our ideas and turned them into something I think is quite stunning. I am very happy you like it.

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  14. David HollingsworthJuly 21, 2022 at 8:32 PM

    Happy Thursday!

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    1. Thank you! And I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

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  15. Finding Persephone sounds like an awesome read and I am looking forward to it. Thank you for sharing the author's guest post, bio and book details

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  16. PJ, I think it is interesting that you have a rescue corgi named Nymeria. A member of our family also has a corgi.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Nancy, thank you! Nymeria (whose full name is Lady Nymeria ShimmerFur von Wetpaws - I know the name is a bit pretentious but my son was reading Game of Thrones when we rescued her) is my sweetie. She keeps me company when I write and likes to take walks when I am trying to work something out in my mind.

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    1. Yipperbear, thank you! Do you read a lot of science fiction, or do you prefer romance novels?

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  18. The book sounds interesting. I like some science fiction.

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    1. Deb Pelletier

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    2. Deb, I like science fiction, too. I think my earliest sci-fi authors were Robert Heinlein and Frank Herbert. What are your favorites?

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  19. Looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the contest. 

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  20. I enjoyed the excerpt. Thank you for the giveaway!

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    1. Debbi - The best thing about this excerpt is that it gives the reader just a glimpse of Grant's internal struggle after he meets Caroline. Up to this point, Grant has had no difficulty "neutralizing" any danger to the colony. Everything starts changing for Grant as soon as he asks himself this question:
      "Why was she different?"

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  21. Replies
    1. I have one son who introduced me to more kinds of science fiction and fantasy than I would have ever believed existed. Thank you for asking.
      Do you have kids?

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  22. Science Fiction Romance - what a great genre!
    And I love the cover.
    Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. Thank you, Barbara, it was almost an accident. Here I was writing a sci-fi story from an alien society's POV of reclaiming the planet. And then Grant met Caroline, and I felt fireworks in my heart. The aliens still plan to reclaim the earth, but the relationship between an alien assassin and a human woman became the central force of the novel.
      The cover art was a collaboration of minds and focuses on the Lyostian symbol for a man on fire and the woman he has chosen to love.
      Thank you for your kind words - and good luck with the giveaway!

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    1. wghutton - Thank you, and you as well! Good luck with the drawing!

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    1. Thank you, Nancy P, I think it does have flights of fantasy added here and there, but the best part of speculative and/or science fiction is the eternal "what if." What if there is a society of aliens hiding in plain sight - the number of hows, whys, and wherefores to answer that question are unfathomable.
      What other kinds of genres do you read?

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  25. Sounds like a good book. I like the cover and excerpt.

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    1. Susan1215, thank you! I think the best part of Finding Persephone's cover is that by using a silhouette, the reader isn't sure whether he's taking into his world...or rescuing her from it. Or both.
      The excerpt is interesting to me, too, because the moment Grant asks himself that question, his entire world, mission, and life change in ways that even he could never have foreseen.
      Thank you for your kind words and good luck with the giveaway!

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  26. lol I love that you purchased a new laptop for a new project and new beginning. Bravo!

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    1. Suzannah, thank you! It was a visible sign, I think, of an invisible resolution. I wore the paint off some of the letters on the keyboard, but I just kept on writing. One of my friends accidentally spilled hot chocolate on it (a long story), and although I was able to recover the data, it never really worked afterward. I keep it in my library, though, like an unforgotten promise.

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    1. Thank you, Danielle! Writing science fiction is always challenging to me because you have to "keep the science in it." Science wasn't always my best subject, so there was a lot more research to writing Finding Persephone than I ever thought would be necessary - but I learned a lot!
      Who are your favorite science fiction writers?

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    1. Ed, you're welcome! I wish you good luck. :-)

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  29. The excerpt is interesting. Thank you for sharing it.

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    1. ck408 - Thank you for your kind words about sharing the excerpt. I can only say that this is the reader's first glimpse into how meeting Caroline begins to change Grant's life in ways he never believed possible.

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  30. The science fiction romance sounds fun to read and I really like the book cover.

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    1. Thank you, Jenn, I only know that Finding Persephone was fun to write. I started with this well-thought-out plan and then Grant met Caroline and everything changed. I didn't even try to pull it back to the original outline, but just went with all these new ideas I had while writing the story.
      As I mentioned earlier, the cover art was a collaboration of ideas centered on the Lyostian symbol for a man on fire. The cover designer, Suzanne Johnson, did a wonderful job of pulling it all together.
      Thank you for your comments - and good luck with the giveaway!

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  31. David HollingsworthJuly 22, 2022 at 5:44 PM

    Happy Friday!

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  32. Great except. Looking forward to reading the book.

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    1. Thank you, diannekc! It's tough to pick just the right scene to convey an interesting part of the book without giving too much away. By this point in the story, the reader already knows how merciless Grant is; his decision to let Caroline live is a turning point not only in the book but in both of their lives.
      I hope you enjoy reading it, and I would love to hear how you liked it.
      What other science fiction books have you liked?

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