The Gramarye Series
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Highland Press
Date of Publication: September 24, 2014
Number of pages: 292
Word Count: 92,000
Cover Artist: Iris Hunter
What happens when a dysfunctional witch and a tough PI work together to save an aging apartment house filled with ghosts, dragons and one oversexed house plant?
Spirits, spells and mayhem…Magic rises in the Gramarye
Melian Devlin is a witch who often resorts to exotic and slightly illegal methods of acquiring money to maintain the 300-year-old Gramarye, the stone apartment house that’s her heart and home. Her life is a series of skirmishes that occasionally end with her behind bars.
Titus Moran is a no-nonsense PI who makes big bucks busting insurance fraud schemes. So how did he wind up in a tortuous battle to keep Melian out of jail? Did the delightful young witch with her gray eyes and magic at her fingertips enchant him—or does the Gramarye hold greater mysteries.
Titus will enter a new exciting world when he joins Melian in her quest to save the Gramarye. Melian will fumble along in her usual impulsive way, leaving a trail of disasters behind her. If they’re lucky, they might survive.
Melian Devlin considered her arrest late Friday evening an ill omen, a portent of dire thingsto come. At the very least, it would ruin her weekend. Her bad luck had continued after her arrest when she’d found herself standing before Judge Franklin P.O. Merkle. Merkle’s exact words were, “You again?”
He’d set her bail at an obscene five thousand dollars.
Psychic readings weren’t illegal in the City of Ashburn, Florida, but selling magic potions skirted the legal line of medicine, hence her arrest. And then there was the sticky issue of not having a business license—again. Minor infractions. So why did Merkle have such a burr up his ass? Maybe because he was working late on Friday? The malicious cop with an aversion to psychics hadn’t helped either.
Standing behind bars at ten o’clock that night, listening to her Great Uncle Will royally chew her butt, confirmed Mel’s dismal assessment of the situation.
“Psychic?” Will’s deep voice rumbled the word. His tired eyes watched her from a weather worn face. “Mel, honey, you ain’t no psychic. You’re a witch. You’re supposed to use magic.”
He shook his head. “I understand why you can’t get a regular job, but can’t you find something irregular you’re good at? Or at least something legal?” He glanced over his shoulder and pitched his voice lower. “You should’ve marked a cop soon as he walked in the door, then spelled him out of making an arrest. You’re allowed basic self-defense. I taught you that.”
Mel winced at Uncle Will’s words. He had taught her. She was simply incredibly incompetent at casting spells and making potions, and utterly terrified of making a mistake. What if she hurt someone? Pretending to be a psychic and selling a few harmless herbal elixirs was easier—and safer.
They’d put her in a simple holding cell inside the precinct station after she’d seen the judge. The arrangement gave detainees a chance to post bail before they moved them to the main jail downtown, something Mel had hoped to avoid. Prospects didn’t look good.
The sparse cell had a single bench bolted to the floor and air filled with the odor of acrid, nose-searing bleach. Her cellmates, two tough prostitutes, sat on the bench staring straight at the wall. Imperfect witch she might be, but she could still deal with the bullying they tried when she first came in.
“Will, please,” Mel begged. “Go talk to Milo for me. Give him an IOU. I’ll get the money some way.” Milo the Bail Bondsman, her father’s second cousin, usually handled her bail. Milo hadn’t returned any of her numerous calls.
“Yeah. Sure.” Will laughed, but it didn’t sound funny. “Gettin’ money some way is what landed you here. I can hear Milo now. Cousin Melian? She told my Granny Panopoulos to put all her money on a horse named Show-Too in the third race and—”
“I told her thirty dollars to show on the number three horse, not… Oh, hell.” She wrapped her hands around the bars to steady herself.
Granny Panopoulos had cried to Mel about not being able to pay her mortgage and buy food in the same month. She figured Granny could lose thirty dollars and learn an excellent lesson about the futility of gambling. How was Mel to know the woman had fifty thousand dollars tucked in her mattress and a persistent bookie looking over her shoulder? Oh, right, she was supposed to be a psychic.
“Okay, girl, here’s the deal.” Will shoved his hands in his pockets like he always did when he had to deliver bad news. “I’ll get you out on Monday—” “Monday?”
“Yep. I’m not going to call Milo on a Friday evening or ruin his weekend. And I don’t trust anyone else.” Will’s head bobbed. His sorrowful expression tore at her. His eyes remained bright and his mind-dagger sharp, but time had worn his aging body. He loved her, and she shouldn’t have troubled him.
“Ya’ know Mel...” He sighed. “Honey, you’re twenty-seven years old. Couple of days and nights in jail won’t hurt. ‘Bout time you learned a lesson. Past time, in fact. While you’re there, think about having to stay longer, what might happen then.” He turned and shuffled out of the room.
Mel leaned her forehead against the cold hard bars. What a stinking mess. She wasn’t a true psychic, but the power, the magic she lived by, occasionally gave her glimpses into the situations surrounding people. A haphazard thing she couldn’t control, but between it and the potions, she made a little money—as long as some cop with an attitude didn’t arrest her.
Mel had paid little attention when the nervous young man with dark, curly hair entered her low-rent storefront room four hours ago. He had a sweet, shy smile and almost pretty face. Not a hint of a cop in him. He paid her forty dollars for a reading and asked her if he would ever find true love. His precise words. “True love.” That alone should have tipped her off. She felt sorry for him and tried to sell him a magic potion. Only a twenty-dollar mixture of Vitamin B and Ginseng, but with the power of suggestion, it might be enough to adjust his outlook on life. He was far too good-natured and attractive to be alone. Then his partner had charged in and gleefully busted her. It didn’t take much to make some cops happy.
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Writer was one of the professions I thought about during my younger years. Lawyer and teacher were there, too. Then I met someone who offered me a different life, wife and mother, so I postponed other careers.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
When I won my first contest. It gave me confidence to move on to greater things.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
Ten long years filled with submissions to agents and editors. Then there were the contests, which I often won, but earned me nothing but praise for a long time.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
I write full time now, but I’ve had a number of jobs from factory to convenience store clerk to clerical office. The one that lasted the longest and gave me the most satisfaction was writing meeting reports. The reports were paraphrased, not dictated, which required observation of people and speech patterns. People know what they want to say, but often don’t know how to express it. I became very good at interpreting the correct ideas from a jumble of words.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Casual Curses and Meticulous Magic is the latest book. I would describe it as, Fast-paced urban fantasy with fun magical characters and a good solid romance to balance things out.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
I was published by NAL originally with the Earth Witches Series. (2011-2013) My current work is published by Highland Press. I will probably never self-publish because I need an experienced editor to look over my work. I need that critical observation. I live in my stories while I’m writing and I cannot be objective. One of the major problems I see with many (but not all) self-published books is the lack of critical editing.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Usually a year because the original idea quickly gets warped by new ideas. I’m not a plotter and new ideas come to me as I write.
What can we expect from you in the future? More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I have the current urban fantasy Gramarye Series to finish. I have one romantic suspense, Static Resistance and Rose, published and another I’ve been asked to finish to submit.
What genre would you place your books into?
I write urban fantasy. I like the juxtaposition of magic and the modern world. I see endless possibilities for characterization in how people with a scientific or practical mind-set react to magic.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
While I’m satisfied with my current protagonist from Casual Curses, Melian Devlin, I like Cassandra the Huntress from the Earth Witches Viper Moon the best. Cassandra’s situation is much darker and more dangerous in Viper Moon, but she deals with it and the violence associated with it a different manner than Melian.
How long have you been writing and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing since I was twelve. I started because I stayed in trouble because of the things I “said” that people constantly misunderstood. It’s much easier to write things out than verbally explain.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? i.e. You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I require a certain degree of silence to write, which is why I didn’t write when I was raising children at home. Music and people moving around me are too distracting. While I certainly admire those who can write in coffee shops, libraries and book stores, that’s not for me.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
No. A review is nothing more than a personal opinion. Emails and other communications from readers are far more important. For my own reading, I ignore the reviews and make decisions on what to read by genre and author. For new authors I read the first chapter and make a decision on whether it’s a book for me. The emphasis on “stars” today is detrimental to writers and readers.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
I search for names that fit and places that work for the story. Not being a plotter, I form characters in my mind as a whole person. I don’t need lists or charts to tell me traits. That method wouldn’t work for some writers.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
No “hidden” messages. It’s good vs. evil.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
My preference is for real books, hard or paperbacks. I need the tangible feel of the book in my hands. I like the ability to leaf through the pages, start reading wherever you open the book, separate pages with your fingers and compare them side by side. I can see the practical uses of ebooks, but as a writer, I have to look at the chance of a dystopian future and ask, “What happens when the electricity goes off and the batteries die?”
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
Books often don’t transfer well to movies because they are different mediums. For me, one of the best transfers was the Lord of the Rings. The worst was the series of movies made from the Stephen King book The Stand. The Stand is a book I love and I’ve read it many times. The movie was so disappointing.
Your favorite Author is?
There are so many, but C. L. Moore and Stephen King have had the greatest impact on my reading and writing preferences. Everyone knows Stephen King, but I would urge all readers who enjoy fantasy and original science fiction to read C.L. Moore.
Lee Roland is a full time writer who lives in North Central Florida. She loves the peaceful rural area where she shares a home with three small dogs who think they are pit bulls and an evil cat with sharp claws.
Lee writes stories of urban fantasy and paranormal romance where strong men and women battle the wickedness hiding under the surface of the modern world. Her characters are passionate in life and love and are formidable enemies to the malevolent criminals in their worlds.
Her first series, the Earth Witches, was published beginning in 2011 by NAL. Her website, www.leeroland.com offers samples of the Earth Witches books and information on their world. There are short stories and news of any upcoming books and events.
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