Wednesday, April 24, 2013

About Face by Amy Lee Burgess Bookshelf Tour

It's my pleasure to have Amy Lee Burgess here today for her Bookshelf Tour and her new release About Face. Another great Stanzie book, in my humble opinion :) And she has graciously answered some questions for me. But, before we get to her interview, she is doing a Rafflecopter giveaway for a $15 gift card and a copy of About Face. You'll find the link at the bottom of the post!

And now, please welcome Amy Lee Burgess!

What is the most romantic thing your significant other or anyone has done for you?
Once I was accused of murdering this guy and this other guy who I thought I didn’t even like stepped up and protected me and ended up bonding with me to keep me from becoming a Councilor’s indentured servant. The guy didn’t even like me and he did this!   Of course I fell in love with him!  No, wait, that didn’t happen to me, that’s the plot of my first Wolf Within novel, Beneath the Skin!

Lol....Do you ever write in your PJ’s?
Of course! Generally, my pajamas are a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt because at any moment one of my dogs might need to be walked. With that being said, I probably write in my pajamas 98% of the time!

What are your pet peeves?
People who constantly clear their throat instead of drinking water or sucking on a cough drop.
People who sniff constantly instead of blowing their damn noses like grown-ups.
People who talk loudly on their phones about their weird personal business so I can’t concentrate.
People who make repetitive noises like tapping their fingers or humming or bouncing a ball against the wall.
Can you tell I work in a cubicle farm?

Absolutely. Those would drive me crazy too. Cats or dogs?
Right now I live with two awesome dachshunds, but before they came to me, I had cats.  So I can’t choose.  I don’t miss the litter box but sometimes having to go out for a walk at 9:30 at night when I’m right in the middle of a great scene in my novel or the goriest part of the latest Walking Dead episode gets a bit old. But that’s a small price to pay for the companionship, I suppose.  

White wine or red?
Usually red, but I love drinking pinot grigio in the summer.  But my drink of choice is champagne and that’s white, isn’t it? 

Works for me. Coffee or tea?
Tea.  Hands down.

Vanilla or chocolate ice cream?
Vanilla for sure. 

What are the 4 things you never leave home without?
My Kindle, my keys, my wallet and my purse to hold them all.

Laptop or desktop for writing?
Desktop.  It sounds so romantic to bring a laptop to a coffee house to write, but I’d get too distracted and the music might bother me and the people, oh my gods, what if they were sniffing or clearing their throats?  Yeah, I’m like Greta Garbo and want to be alone – at least when I write.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I’d prefer to write all day and night long, but the day job and the dogs interfere with that strategy.  So at the moment I write between the hours of 5 and 7 a.m. on weekdays and then usually Saturday night or Sunday afternoon.  I’m in my living room at my desk.

If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you?
Stuart Townsend. OH. MY. GOD. He’d be the romantic lead.
Wait? I need two other people?  Okay, hold on, I’m thinking.
William Shatner.  I think he’s so damn funny.  He’d be fascinating to talk and laugh with over the campfire at night. Plus, you know, he’s Captain Kirk!
Oh, and Misha Collins.  He makes me laugh too, plus he’s adorable.

An actor you have a crush on?
Stuart Townsend.  See above.  I base almost all my heroes on him.  He’s Murphy in the Wolf Within series – at least in my head.  My readers may want to envision somebody else and that’s the beauty of reading!

What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?
I am currently obsessed with The Walking Dead.  I love that show.  I remember at first I thought, “How the hell can a series about zombies hold anybody’s interest?” I envisioned every episode as just one long escape from the clutches of the zombie horde.  But it’s so much more than that. It’s been fascinating watching how an outside event like a zombie apocalypse can bring out either the best or the worst in the people who are trying to survive it. I often wonder if I were a character, would be a raving, power hungry bitch? A charismatic leader?  A faithful team player?  I’d be in perpetual mourning for the loss of electricity, I know that much. I couldn’t write anymore because I have the worst handwriting in the world and my hand cramps after half a page. 

What made you decide to be an author?
I don’t know if it was a decision so much as a need.  I’ve always written since I was ten.  My favorite present that year at Christmas was a little kiddie typewriter because even back then my hand couldn’t keep up with the words in my head that wanted writing down.
I did make the decision to try to be a published author. That was a very clear choice I made. For several years I was happily churning out an epic vampire series that I shared on my blog with only a few people until more and more I started becoming attracted to (and terrified of) the idea of submitting an actual publishable novel to a small press.
So I put aside my vampires and started writing about a wolf shifter named Stanzie.  Luckily for me, Lyrical Press liked that first novel and each one in the series since. 

I love Stanzie :) How did you choose the genre you write in?
I’ve always been attracted to the supernatural and paranormal.  The first story I wrote was a supernatural ghost story when I was ten. The only time I ever wrote anything that wasn’t paranormal-related was in the eighties and nineties when I was obsessed with music and bands and wrote some very long and highly dramatic novels about a woman in an all-male band and how she ended up in a relationship with each one of them at some point until she found the one who was It for her.  Gods, how embarrassing to even remember this! 
Then I saw Interview with the Vampire when the movie version came out and thought, OHMYGOD, I can write VAMPIRE NOVELS.  And that’s what I did for a year until I got divorced, fell in love with someone new, moved to New Orleans and only wrote short stories until the year after Katrina when I started writing the vampire novels again.  And got divorced again.  I often wonder if writing about vampires causes my divorces or maybe I’m just writing out the fact my relationship is ending?  But I’m way off topic now, aren’t I?

Are you a panster or a plotter and why?
I am a bit of both at this point.  I used to be a panster extraordinaire, but the more I write, the more I need to plot. Or maybe the easier it gets now that I semi know what the hell I’m doing.  But by “plot” I mean I know the overarching main plot and the theme, but then I let the characters direct how I get there.

Is there a particular author who may have influenced you?
I don’t know. I read so much and I’m inspired by so many authors.  There are also several I don’t want to be like at all and that’s influence too, right? 

Sure is. What is your all time favorite book?
Gods, I don’t think I have one. That’s so hard to narrow down.  I do reread Bram Stoker’s Dracula every autumn, but I’m not sure I would say it was my favorite all time book.

What is your favorite sentence or quote in your new release?
“Yes, I believe in you. Yes, I belong to you.”
At the beginning of the book, Stanzie’s cousin Faith has a dream where Stanzie says these words to a man with curly black hair and different-colored eyes. She thinks Stanzie is speaking to her estranged bond mate, Murphy, but when she tells Stanzie about this dream, Stanzie knows it isn’t Murphy. It’s her Alpha, Paddy O’Reily. In book three, Hidden in Plain Sight, Stanzie had to stand in front of a tribunal and during it was disowned by her father.  Paddy took her aside and told her she didn’t need Paul Benedict anyway, that she had family in him and Mac Tire.  He told her he was her Alpha and she belonged to him. Stanzie took real comfort from his words and believed in him. Then a week later, Paddy leaves with Murphy, stranding Stanzie in Boston alone and she is bitterly disillusioned.
These words are the catalyst that propel Stanzie to Dublin in her effort to get Murphy back.  Faith’s dreams have a habit of coming true, so Stanzie spends the whole novel waiting for the moment where she gets to say these words. She’s convinced she will never say them because she’s so angry at Paddy. 
Well, she does get to say them, but it’s not how she ever expected.

How much trouble did your characters give you while writing your new release? Which one?
Councilor Jason Allerton is so damn stubborn. He never tells Stanzie the whole story and throughout this novel he kept dropping bombshells on her that if he’d just shared earlier and without such drama, she might not have reacted the way she did. Jason has always been a mysterious character. Beneficent, generous, father-like, but damn it, he doles out information sparingly. He lives by the maxim “Only give people information they can handle.” But sometimes I think he underestimates Stanzie. Or he’s been burned too many times to not be so cautious.  He changes in this book, comes to realize that he doesn’t always have to be The Councilor to everybody, but it’s a difficult concept for him and he struggles.

Where do you get your ideas from?
All over.  Dreams are a big source of inspiration.  And music.

How did you choose your title?
Every title in the series encapsulates the main theme/plot of the book.  This one, About Face, stands for a couple of things. One is that Stanzie has to do a complete about face in how she views the conspiracy that brought her and Liam together in the first book.  Her ideas have been way off base and she needs to get them realigned.  Also, this book is about face literally. How to hold your head up when you’re lost or sad or if you’ve really screwed up and you don’t want anyone to know. 

How do you cure writer’s block?
I light candles and incense, pour some champagne and put on music.  If that doesn’t do the trick, a bubble bath with dark chocolate and more champagne will hopefully work.

Do you have any advice for an aspiring writer?
Don’t sweat all the rules you may hear about. Don’t read submission guidelines and despair.  You’ve got to write what you love, what you know, get it out, and then if you want to actually publish your work, you can revise to fit the guidelines.  Don’t put the cart before the horse. Get yourself a finished novel before you think about what you are going to do with it. 

That's so true. What sacred advice have you been given by another writer?
Don’t give up.  Getting rejected is hard not to take personally, but when I cried on the shoulder of one of my writer friends all she said was, “So where are you submitting next?”  And I went home and resubmitted to another publishing house two hours after getting rejected by the first. Cross your fingers for me because I’m still being considered at this second publishing house!  

Where can your readers stalk you?
A couple places. is my mail address and I love to get letters.  I promise I will answer.  Let me know what you think about Stanzie and Murphy.  I’m also found on Twitter @amyleeburgess  and Facebook at  Send me a friend request!

Stanzie’s job as Advisor to the Great Council is discovering other people’s secrets. When those secrets are being kept by the ones she loves most, can she find the courage to expose them?

Under orders from a Councilor, Stanzie journeys to Dublin and the MacTire pack. Her mission: warn her estranged bond mate, Liam Murphy, to abandon his overzealous search for the man responsible for the death of his first bond mate. Not only is he endangering himself, but also disrupting the delicate balance between opposing factions in the conspiracy threatening to tear the Great Pack apart.

Liam needs Stanzie’s help to protect their Alpha, who has entangled himself in the conspiracy’s deadly web. But he also desperately wants her back. In a race against time, Stanzie and Liam discover enemies often wear the faces of friends.

CONTENT WARNING: Vulgar language, sexual situations, some violence
A Lyrical Press Paranormal Romance

Our fingers were still linked when I opened my eyes hours later. The bedroom smelled of sex--of us--and while he wasn't snoring, Murphy’s breath was slow and heavy, the way I remembered from the nights we’d spent together in America.
For a moment I was filled with such aching happiness I almost expected to levitate off the bed. But then I remembered everything, and black despair bit into me so hard I wondered I didn't bleed.

He’d rolled off me at some point, but we were still on top of the covers. I let go of his hand and slid off the bed. I found his t-shirt and my panties, put them on and fled to the living room.

The remains of our dinner had congealed on our plates on the table. The lights were still on, and I got as far as the sofas before my legs went out from beneath me and I couldn't breathe.

Murphy appeared like a ghost in the bedroom doorway. His eyes were very dark.

“Can we talk about it, Stanzie?”

“What’s to talk about?” I drew one of the throw pillows defensively close to my stomach.

I loved him but he didn't love me. I’d tried so hard not to let that overwhelm me and make peace with it. Of all the people in his life he protected, I was the last on the list and that’s not where I wanted to be. “You chose Paddy and Mac Tire over me, and I guess I get that, but it hurts.”

“I had no idea you loved me.” His tone was raw and desperate. “I thought I was doing the right thing. You didn't need to be put at risk in this, and I thought I could--”

“What? Don’t lie to me, Liam. You didn't want me involved because you’re going to do something stupid to save Paddy and your father. Why should you martyr yourself for them?”

“Paddy came to me for help,” Murphy shouted and the muscles in his face strained as he struggled to regain control. “He had nowhere else to turn, don’t you see? It’s not like I could tell him to go screw himself. He’s my best mate.”

“But it’s okay to tell me to go screw myself, I guess. I’m your bond mate. You wouldn't come to my tribunal. You threw me out like so much garbage when Paddy told you his problems. And you couldn't even tell me why. You’re so hell-bent on saving everybody, but it’s always on your terms and you have to be the one to give help--you never want it in return. I would have helped you. I would have done anything for Paddy--he’s my Alpha--but you decided what was best for me in your typical high-handed Liam Murphy fashion, and to hell with what I thought, what I wanted.

“And then tonight you take advantage of the fact I love you so you can, what? Have sex?
Haven’t you screwed anyone in four months, or have you just screwed people over?”

His face blanched of all color, and he stared at me, his dark eyes bottomless.
“That wasn't just sex. Did that feel like just sex to you?”

“No, not to me. I love you. But that’s what it was to you. Will you please leave me alone? I’m tired and I want to go to sleep.”

“Stanzie, I know you’re tired, but we've got to talk about this.”

“In the morning. Maybe.” I turned away from him because I couldn't stand to look at the entreaty in his eyes. In a heartbeat I’d be across the floor to him, and screw that.

He abruptly gave in. “Look, you take the bed, I’ll sleep out here.”

“No, I’ll stay out here.” I was ten seconds from tears, and I wanted him gone so he wouldn't see.

“Stanzie, take the bed.”

“No,” I shouted, and the damn tears poured down my cheeks. “It smells like us in there, don’t you get it? And us is a lie. Just let me do what I want, goddamn it.”

He opened his mouth to argue, but then, defeated, retreated and did as I asked.

 Amy Lee Burgess is a transplanted New Englander living in Houston, Texas with two dogs and lots of DVDs. In an attempt to bond with the city after being forced out of New Orleans post-Katrina, she turned to her writing. Determined to finally finish that novel she'd been hacking away at since high school, Amy managed to come up with a wolf shifter character named Stanzie Newcastle. She and Stanzie have been BFFs ever since.

In addition to Stanzie, Amy has also forged a relationship with several vampires, a witch or two, and other assorted supernatural creatures she hopes will entertain her readers. But she will always have room for coffee and butterscotch squares with Stanzie.

 Click here for her Rafflecopter Giveaway, which will be for a $15 gift certificate and a copy of About Face;


  1. Hi Donna! Thanks for hosting me today. Congratulations on your grandson. He's adorable!

  2. Great interview, Amy! I loved learning all these details about you. You cracked me up with the coffee house thing and people who might be clearing their throats or sniffling, LOL. By the way, Stuart Townsend is hawt!

    Great excerpt!

    1. Hi Mae! I wish I could shut out that noise people make when spring comes and allergies run rampant, but I can't. So writing in public. Not for me. :) I know I gush about Stuart Townsend a lot, but he IS hawt! He IS! LOL!

  3. Great interview. Love to advice to new writer. Yeah. Dont give up.