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Thursday Flicks with Suzanne McLeod - May 26, 2011

Thursday Flicks is an occasional feature at The Qwillery where authors write about films. Today's guest is Suzanne McLeod, author of the Spellcrackers series:


My Life in Movies*!

To be honest, when Sally invited me to do a post on films, I flailed slightly . . . okay, I admit it, I flailed a lot. You see, I’ve never been much of a cinema goer; Mr Mc and I usually only go to see 1 or 2 films a year. In fact the last one we saw at the cinema was Sherlock Holmes, on Boxing day 2009 – yes, the actual release day. (Christmas, as you’ll read, is the one time we do watch films!) We don’t even watch a lot of films on TV. Mr Mc likes sports, and I’ve always got my head stuck in a book, or I’m writing (big surprise there :-D). So, how could I talk about movies? But then as I thought about the few films I have seen, well, all that not going to the cinema has made them so much more memorable . . .

1975: Jaws– This was the first non-kiddie film I went to see with no parental supervision. Eek! It was a while before I got back into the water! (Oh, and then not much later I read the book . . . and discovered what parts of the story the film missed out !)
1977: Star Wars – GEEK LOVE AT FIRST WATCH. Need I say more? *g*

Thursday Flicks with Suzanne McLeod - May 26, 2011

1979: Lord of the Rings – The animation premiered on TV on Christmas day (!). My big pressie that year was a VHS video recorder, which was pretty new technology then! I set it to tape the film with great excitement, but sadly, once Christmas lunch was over, I discovered all I’d recorded was a screen of static. Who knew video recorders were such sensitive beasts that they needed an outside TV aerial to receive? I never have gotten to see the animated version :- (.
1981: Gone with the Wind (Okay, so it really came out in 1939, but 1981 was when I saw it :- )) – I wanted to see this sooooo bad, and no one would go with me, so I took myself. First time I’d been to the cinema on my own. I felt very independent. It’s also the last time I went to the cinema on my own . . . Oh, well, I’ve been independent in other ways, since :-D.
1987: The Untouchables – Totally awed by the amazing shootout scene: the one with the baby carriage bouncing down the stairs at Chicago Union Station. And this was Andy Garcia’s first film (he was in Godfather III a couple of years later)! *has deep abiding crush*

Thursday Flicks with Suzanne McLeod - May 26, 2011

1988: Twins – This was Mr Mc’s and mine first ‘film date’ (and only about our fourth or fifth date). It was a perfect date movie for us: lots of laughs, and a touch of pathos. Aww *g*
1994: Jurassic Park – Mr Mc and I watched this when it premiered on TV on Christmas Day (!) (he had the ‘Dinosaurs are Chasing Me’ nightmare that night . . . hehe). And as I’m not much for watching horror movies, I always call those ‘make you jump out of your skin’ moments, ‘Jurassic Park shocks’ :-D.
2001 onwards: Harry Potter films – I read the first Harry Potter book back in 2000 when my eldest nephew (then 10) decided, as I read a lot, I should take the book on holiday with me. It marked my return to reading fantasy (which I’d sadly ignored for a few years in favour of romance, crime and thrillers), which ultimately lead to me starting writing. Yay! Of course, a year later, when the first film came out, the whole family had to go and see it. And we’ve seen all the rest as a family, right up until last year, when my youngest nephew insisted he go to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows with his girlfriend instead. Awwwww, they grow up so fast ;p.
2001 onwards again: The Lord of the Rings trilogy (not the animation this time!) – The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003). I took my two nephews (aged 8 and 11 in 2001) to see the first, and subsequent films (their parents didn’t want to go! The Geek Gene passed my brother by :- (), which has made me one very cool auntie *g*.
Oh, and to finish up my memorable movies, here’s a few others I have LOVED!
Serenity
Sin City
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Thursday Flicks with Suzanne McLeod - May 26, 2011


*Okay, so this post would have been way more interesting if it was entitled: ‘My Life in the Movies’, but hey, if you’d ever seen me act, you’d understand why that particular career choice was never an option *g*


About Suzanne

Thursday Flicks with Suzanne McLeod - May 26, 2011
Suzanne McLeod writes the Spellcrackers.com urban fantasy series about magic, mayhem and murder – liberally spiced with hot guys, kick-ass chicks and super-cool supes. There are currently six books contracted in the series; her latest releases are The Cold Kiss of Death #2 (US /Ace) and The Bitter Seed of Magic #3 (UK /Gollancz). She was born in London – her favourite city and the home of Spellcrackers.com – and now lives with her husband and geriatric rescue dog on England’s (sometimes) sunny South Coast.


Find her at her webiste: http://www.spellcrackers.com/
And twitter: http://twitter.com/Suzanne_McLeod


About Suzanne's Books

The Sweet Scent of Blood
Spellcrackers 1
(US - April 27, 2010)
Thursday Flicks with Suzanne McLeod - May 26, 2011
'My name is Genny Taylor. I work for Spellcrackers.com. It’s a great job, pays the rent, lets me do the thing I’m good at – finding magic and cracking it – and the bonus is it’s run by witches, which stops the vamps from taking a bite out of me.

Not that vampires are the big bad any more, not since they launched a slick PR campaign – ­ oh, and they brought the goblins on board. Now the vamps are sought-after celebrities, and Getting Fanged and taking the Gift are the new height of all things cool.

But only if you’re human.

And I’m not.

I’m Sidhe fae.

And I know firsthand just how deadly a vampire can be.’

When Mr October, a sexy calendar pin-up vamp, is accused of murdering his girlfriend, an old debt is called in and Genny is forced to help prove his innocence, risking her job and the protection it offers – and threatening to expose her own dark secrets. Searching for the killer plunges Genny deep into the hidden heart of vampire society. It’s not long before she realises that she and Mr October are both unwitting pawns in a centuries-old power struggle between London’s non-human communities . . . and it’s not just her own neck that’s at stake, but the lives of all London’s supernaturals.


Amazon : Barnes & Noble : Book Depository : Borders


The Cold Kill of Death
Spellcrackers 2
(US - April 26, 2011)
Thursday Flicks with Suzanne McLeod - May 26, 2011
Genny Taylor works for Spellcrackers.com ±
Making Magic Safe. But her own life is anything but safe!

The ghost grasped her shift and ripped it open. The three interlacing crescents carved red-raw and bleeding into her thin chest didn’t look any better than the last dozen times I’d seen them. The wounds weren’t lethal – they weren’t even recent; she’d been dead for at least a hundred and fifty years – but my gut still twisted with anger that someone would do that to a child.’

Being haunted by a ghost is the least of Genny’s problems: she’s also trying to deal with the witch neighbour who wants her evicted. Finn, her sort-of-Ex – and now her new boss – can’t quite decide whether he wants their relationship to be business or pleasure. And then there’s the queue of vamps inviting her to paint the town red; how long before they stop taking no for an answer?

Just when it seems things can’t get any worse a human friend is murdered using sidhe magic. Determined to hunt down the killer and needing help, she turns to one of London’s most capricious wylde fae and the seductive vampire Malik al-Khan.

But all too soon she realises she doesn’t know who she can trust – and now Genny’s the one being hunted, not just by the police, but by some of London’s most powerful and dangerous supernaturals.

Amazon : Barnes & Noble : Book Depository : Borders


The Bitter Seed of Magic (Spellcrackers 3) will be released in the US in December 2011:

On the surface, Genny's life seems ripple-free right now. Finn, her sexy boss and -- well, Genny's not sure what else she wants him to be -- has stopped pushing for a decision on their relationship. The seductive vampire Malik al-Khan has vanished back into the shadows. And the witches have declared her no longer a threat. But unless Genny can find a way to break the fertility curse afflicting London's fae, she knows this is just the lull before the magical storm.

Then a faeling -- a teenage girl -- is fished out of the River Thames, dead and bound with magic, and Genny is called into investigate. As she digs through the clues, her search takes a sinister and dangerous turn, exposing age-old secrets that might be better left buried. Then another faeling disappears, and Genny finds herself in a race against time to save the faeling and stop the curse from claiming its next victim -- herself!

Preorder from: AmazonBook Depository : Borders

Book descriptions from Suzanne's website.


See my 4 1/2 Qwill review of The Cold Kiss of Death by clicking here.

Interview with Suzanne McLeod and Giveaway - April 27, 2011

Please welcome Suzanne McLeod to The Qwillery.

TQ:  What is your most interesting writing quirk?

Suzanne:  Thanks so much for having me here at the Qwillery! Hmm, writing quirk? Well, before I start writing I have to stick my fingers in my ears, hop on one leg whilst chewing a liquorice torpedo and humming the theme tune to Rocky. This helps me get in the mood— oh darn it, I can see by your expressions you don’t believe me. So I’ll own up. I don’t have any interesting quirks . . . unless you count calling all my yet-to-be-named characters, Dave . . . *g*

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Suzanne:  Charlaine Harris, Kelly Armstrong, Ilona Andrews, Rachel Caine, Emma Bull, Mike Carey, Kim Harrison, Ann Aguirre, Tanya Huff to name a few. (I have a lotof favourites :-D). And I think that every book I’ve read has influenced my writing in some ways, but as my favourite genre is urban fantasy, those writers I love most have probably had more of an effect than others . . . *wanders off to dream of Eric* *g*.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Suzanne:  I’m a planster! (© Jaye Wells, my fab crit partner.) I plot out the major arcs of my books, usually starting with the murderer and working out why/how/when the baddie does the “horrible” deed. Then I weave the murder plot into Genny’s – my MC’s – life, and work a road map of scenes for the book. Then, I start writing! Which is where the plantster bit really comes in. Initially I follow my map but like any journey there’s always more than one road to reach “The End”. So as I write I take some unexpected, interesting and exciting detours, this leads to more “bad things” happening to my characters, and then I usually pull over to re-plot my road map so I still reach “The Ending” I planned :- ).

TQ:  Describe the Spellcrackers series in 140 characters or less.

Suzanne:  Spellcracking books set in London about magic, mayhem & murder – liberally spiced with hot guys, kick-ass chicks & super-cool supes!

TQ:  Tell us about The Cold Kiss of Death (Spellcrackers 2).

Suzanne:  Genny’s got a whole heap of problems, she’s being haunted by a ghost, her witch neighbours want her evicted, she’s not sure what Finn (her boss and sort of Ex) wants from her, and London’s vamps keep asking her out on the Town (all apart from the one she’s really interested in!). Then as she’s trying to sort her way out of all that, her friend is murdered, and Genny ends up the main suspect. She goes on the run, determined to find out who the murderer really is . . . And that’s when the evil author in me really starts to have fun! *g*

TQ:  What inspired you to write the Spellcrackers series?

Suzanne:  I love reading urban fantasy with its mix of the mundane, magic and murder, and I love series where the story follows the main characters’ lives, friendships and romances, and shows how they grow and change. I also like books to have relatively self-contained plots, especially when it comes to the baddie getting their comeuppance. So, when I started writing the Spellcrackers series, I wrote the sort of book I love to read :-D

TQ:  What sorts of research did you do for the series?

Suzanne:  Research for me usually falls into three categories. The first is where I daydream, er, do lots of thinking and make copious notes. This type deals a lot with characters, plot, how they interact, and how stuff in the Spellcrackers world, like magic or ‘how vamps become vamps’, frex, works.

The second part is where I mine myths and legends, reference books, the internet, TV documentaries and anything else that might have caught my interest, looking for cool little nuggets to back up any wacky ideas I might have, and search for those all important RL facts that make the world feel more real.

The third part is where I get to go shopping in London . . . oh, sorry, I meant “serious research” checking out the real places in the books, again so I can make them feel “real” *g*. And often I find these research visits give me lots of new, interesting ideas (and strangely enough, occasionally new shoes too! *looks innocent*).

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is your favorite scene or scenes in The Cold Kiss of Death?

Suzanne:  It has to be where Genny visits Southwark, the area round London Bridge. She goes to the Clink Museum, sees the replica Golden Hinde moored on the Thames, and climbs up Nancy’s Steps at the side of London Bridge (named for where Nancy, in the original musical of Dickens’ Oliver Twist, was murdered). Partly I love the scenes set there because they were some of the easy writing ones, but the main reason is when I researched the area, Mr Mc and I were on a short holiday in London, so they bring back lots of happy memories :- ).

TQ:  Which character in the series was the most difficult for you to write and why? Easiest?

Suzanne:  All the main ones have me tearing my hair out on occasion. If it’s not Finn being difficult, it’s Malik, and I’ve threatened to kill both of them off a few times if they don’t get their acts together! But the easiest characters are always the walk ons

TQ:  What's next?

Suzanne:  Genny’s next adventure is “The Bitter Seed of Magic” (out now UK, and Dec 2011 US). Genny’s trying to find a way to break an eighty-year-old curse which is making London’s fae infertile. The fae think they’ve got the perfect solution, but Genny’s convinced they’re wrong, and sets out to prove it. Then dead faelings – half fae, half human – start being fished out of the River Thames. It looks like the curse is responsible for their deaths, and as Genny investigates, she soon finds she has to crack the curse before she ends up the next victim.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Suzanne:  It’s been great to be here, thanks so much for having me!


About Suzanne's Books

The Sweet Scent of Blood
Spellcrackers 1
(US - April 27, 2010)
Interview with Suzanne McLeod and Giveaway - April 27, 2011
'My name is Genny Taylor. I work for Spellcrackers.com. It’s a great job, pays the rent, lets me do the thing I’m good at – finding magic and cracking it – and the bonus is it’s run by witches, which stops the vamps from taking a bite out of me.

Not that vampires are the big bad any more, not since they launched a slick PR campaign – ­ oh, and they brought the goblins on board. Now the vamps are sought-after celebrities, and Getting Fanged and taking the Gift are the new height of all things cool.

But only if you’re human.

And I’m not.

I’m Sidhe fae.

And I know firsthand just how deadly a vampire can be.’

When Mr October, a sexy calendar pin-up vamp, is accused of murdering his girlfriend, an old debt is called in and Genny is forced to help prove his innocence, risking her job and the protection it offers – and threatening to expose her own dark secrets. Searching for the killer plunges Genny deep into the hidden heart of vampire society. It’s not long before she realises that she and Mr October are both unwitting pawns in a centuries-old power struggle between London’s non-human communities . . . and it’s not just her own neck that’s at stake, but the lives of all London’s supernaturals.


Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Borders


The Cold Kill of Death
Spellcrackers 2
(April 26, 2011)
Interview with Suzanne McLeod and Giveaway - April 27, 2011
Genny Taylor works for Spellcrackers.com ±
Making Magic Safe. But her own life is anything but safe!

The ghost grasped her shift and ripped it open. The three interlacing crescents carved red-raw and bleeding into her thin chest didn’t look any better than the last dozen times I’d seen them. The wounds weren’t lethal – they weren’t even recent; she’d been dead for at least a hundred and fifty years – but my gut still twisted with anger that someone would do that to a child.’

Being haunted by a ghost is the least of Genny’s problems: she’s also trying to deal with the witch neighbour who wants her evicted. Finn, her sort-of-Ex – and now her new boss – can’t quite decide whether he wants their relationship to be business or pleasure. And then there’s the queue of vamps inviting her to paint the town red; how long before they stop taking no for an answer?

Just when it seems things can’t get any worse a human friend is murdered using sidhe magic. Determined to hunt down the killer and needing help, she turns to one of London’s most capricious wylde fae and the seductive vampire Malik al-Khan.

But all too soon she realises she doesn’t know who she can trust – and now Genny’s the one being hunted, not just by the police, but by some of London’s most powerful and dangerous supernaturals.

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Borders

Book descriptions from Suzanne's website.

See my 4 1/2 Qwill review of The Cold Kiss of Death by clicking here.


About Suzanne
 
Interview with Suzanne McLeod and Giveaway - April 27, 2011
Suzanne McLeod is the author of the Spellcrackers.com urban fantasy series featuring Genevieve – Genny – Taylor, a sidhe fae, who cracks spells for a living. Suzanne has been a cocktail waitress, dance group roadie and worked for many years in retail management, before she started writing. She lives on the sunny (sometimes) South Coast in the UK with her husband and geriatric rescue dog.
Suzanne's Links
Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook


The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win US Mass Market Paperback copies of The Sweet Scent of Blood (Spellcrackers 1) and The Cold Kiss of Death (Spellcrackers 2).

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

In what city, town, or place would you like to see an Urban Fantasy set?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, May 4, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Review - The Cold Kiss of Death by Suzanne McLeod - 4 1/2 Qwills

The Cold Kiss of Death
Author:  Suzanne McLeod
Series:  Spellcrackers 2
Format:  Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages
Publisher:  Ace (April 26, 2011)
Price:  $7.99
Language:  English
Genre: Urban Fantasy
ISBN:  9780441020393
Review Copy:  Provided by Publisher

Cover and Description:

Review - The Cold Kiss of Death by Suzanne McLeod - 4 1/2 Qwills
Genny Taylor works for Spellcrackers.com ±
Making Magic Safe. But her own life is anything but safe!


‘The ghost grasped her shift and ripped it open. The three interlacing crescents carved red-raw and bleeding into her thin chest didn’t look any better than the last dozen times I’d seen them. The wounds weren’t lethal – they weren’t even recent; she’d been dead for at least a hundred and fifty years – but my gut still twisted with anger that someone would do that to a child.’

Being haunted by a ghost is the least of Genny’s problems: she’s also trying to deal with the witch neighbour who wants her evicted. Finn, her sort-of-Ex – and now her new boss – can’t quite decide whether he wants their relationship to be business or pleasure. And then there’s the queue of vamps inviting her to paint the town red; how long before they stop taking no for an answer?

Just when it seems things can’t get any worse a human friend is murdered using sidhe magic. Determined to hunt down the killer and needing help, she turns to one of London’s most capricious wylde fae and the seductive vampire Malik al-Khan.

But all too soon she realises she doesn’t know who she can trust – and now Genny’s the one being hunted, not just by the police, but by some of London’s most powerful and dangerous supernaturals. From Suzanne McLeod's Website.
 
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Borders


My Thoughts:
 
The Cold Kiss of Death is the second book in the Spellcrackers series by Suzanne McLeod. It's a wild ride filled with intrigue, mystery, and surprises. By the time I got to the ending few chapters, I was on edge waiting to find out what would happen. I had to read the last few chapters more than once, not because I didn't get it, but because I rushed the first time. I absolutely had to know what happened. I found the ending of the story quite emotional.

Genny is a terrific main character. She's smart and determined, but not perfect, which makes her all the more believable. She works for Spellcrackers.com, a company that takes care of magical problems often by cracking unwanted spells. Genny is also the only Sidhe fae in London. This book deals much less with her job than the fallout from the murder of her friend among other things.

The book is filled with wonderful, well drawn secondary characters including the men in Genny's life: Malik al-Kahn, a mysterious vampire with ties to Genny that become more clear in his book; Finn, a satyr and her boss and potential love interest who we met in Book 1; and Tavish, a kelpie and technology whiz who first appears in this book. These three try to help Genny figure out who murdered her human friend, but even they may have agendas that Genny does not fully understand. Other characters from Book 1 also appear and have integral rolls to play in Book 2. There are some truly evil characters in the book that do not have Genny's best interests in mind at all, but they are not caricatures of evil. It becomes very clear what motivates them.

More is revealed about about London's magical community of witches, fae, vampires and its politics. The magical world in this series is very deeply developed. Why Genny is the only Sidhe fae in London is explained in this book. I'm not going to reveal any details because I do not want to give anything away. There are twists and turns and more than one surprise. These interlocking threads of story are woven together deftly by Suzanne McLeod to create an immensely satisfying and exciting read.

This is one of the most original Urban Fantasy series that I have read in a long time. The Cold Kiss of Death will keep you on the edge of your seat from the opening line to the very end.

I give The Cold Kiss of Death 4 1/2 Qwills

Review - The Cold Kiss of Death by Suzanne McLeod - 4 1/2 QwillsReview - The Cold Kiss of Death by Suzanne McLeod - 4 1/2 Qwills


I strongly suggest that you read the this series in order.


Prior books in the Spellcrackers series:

The Cold Kiss of Death
Author:  Suzanne McLeod
Series:  Spellcrackers 1
Format:  Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Publisher:  Ace (April 27, 2010)
Price:  $7.99
Language:  English
Genre: Urban Fantasy
ISBN:  9780441018710

Review - The Cold Kiss of Death by Suzanne McLeod - 4 1/2 Qwills
'My name is Genny Taylor. I work for Spellcrackers.com. It’s a great job, pays the rent, lets me do the thing I’m good at – finding magic and cracking it – and the bonus is it’s run by witches, which stops the vamps from taking a bite out of me.

Not that vampires are the big bad any more, not since they launched a slick PR campaign – ­ oh, and they brought the goblins on board. Now the vamps are sought-after celebrities, and Getting Fanged and taking the Gift are the new height of all things cool.

But only if you’re human.

And I’m not.

I’m Sidhe fae.

And I know firsthand just how deadly a vampire can be.’

When Mr October, a sexy calendar pin-up vamp, is accused of murdering his girlfriend, an old debt is called in and Genny is forced to help prove his innocence, risking her job and the protection it offers – and threatening to expose her own dark secrets. Searching for the killer plunges Genny deep into the hidden heart of vampire society. It’s not long before she realises that she and Mr October are both unwitting pawns in a centuries-old power struggle between London’s non-human communities . . . and it’s not just her own neck that’s at stake, but the lives of all London’s supernaturals
Thursday Flicks with Suzanne McLeod - May 26, 2011Interview with Suzanne McLeod and Giveaway - April 27, 2011Review - The Cold Kiss of Death by Suzanne McLeod - 4 1/2 Qwills

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