August, 2017

The last month of summer…

Where I live, August is the last real month of summer. School starts up at the end of it, so the first few weeks are a whirlwind of backpack shopping, trips to the beach and The Boardwalk, and last-minute weekend getaways.

My own last-minute getaway took the form of a girl’s trip to Seattle, Washington. I’ve loved Seattle since I first visited with my husband and son, several years ago. It reminds me of San Francisco; a city on the water, great food and beer scene, interesting history, beautiful architecture.

Oh, and ghosts.

In addition to our other adventures, my friends humored me with a ghost tour through historic Pioneer Square. For the better part of an evening, we spied on haunted hotels, visited Gold Rush-era basement bars, and traipsed around sections of the city literally buried underground. I’ve posted a few pictures in the Recent Research section below.

Why research? Spoiler alert: several books from now, Lena and MacMillian may be going on a field trip.

While Seattle was fun, it’s been good to get home and get back to work. Much as I love getting to know my other characters, I always miss Lena and MacMillian. I’ve been excited about my current WIP, Ghost In The Machine (SB#3), ever since I started writing the Shades Below series. It’s given me an excuse to let my nerd flag fly, and dive into the wild, wacky, mind-bending world of quantum science.

In this book, Lena and MacMillian won’t be dealing with monsters, per se – at least, not unless you count the monsters that live inside people. Rather, they’re going up against the intricacies of space and time itself, not to mention things like love, loss, the specter of grief, and the darkness that lives inside each of us.


So what does science look like in a world of magic? That’s a question I’ve been tackling in Ghost In The Machine, and I’ve found it so fascinating, I also decided to chronicle my learning process over on my blog. Check out my first Science and Shades Below post, and join me for the ride.

In the meantime, Happy September!

Current Word Count


Song Of The Moment

White Wedding (A Cappella) – Corinna Jane
Hey little sister what have you done?
Hey little sister who’s the only one?
Hey little sister who’s your superman?
Hey little sister who’s the one you want?
Hey little sister shot gun!It’s a nice day to start again.
It’s a nice day for a white wedding.
It’s a nice day to start again.Hey little sister who is it you’re with?
Hey little sister what’s your vice and wish?
Hey little sister shot gun (oh yeah)
Hey little sister who’s your superman?
Hey little sister shot gun!It’s a nice day to start again (come on)
It’s a nice day for a white wedding
It’s a nice day to start again.

(Pick it up)

Take me back home

Hey little sister what have you done?
Hey little sister who’s the only one?
I’ve been away for so long (so long)
I’ve been away for so long (so long)
I let you go for so long

It’s a nice day to start again (come on)
It’s a nice day for a white wedding
It’s a nice day to start again.

There is nothin’ fair in this world
There is nothin’ safe in this world
And there’s nothin’ sure in this world
And there’s nothin’ pure in this world
Look for something left in this world
Start again

Come on
It’s a nice day for a white wedding
It’s a nice day to start again.
It’s a nice day to start again.
It’s a nice day to start again.

Written by Billy Idol
Album Billy Idol, 1982

Recent Research

A few fun pics from my recent girls’ weekend in Seattle…

Spooked In Seattle ghost tour – where we got our spook on!
Looking up…
Love me a gratuitous alley shot 😉
Hole in the wall bar underneath Merchants Cafe
Because no underground bar is complete without a disco ball…
Bar in the underground restaurant, The Pink Door – Lena & MacMillian need to have drinks here!
Gorgeous view of the city from the sky…

Pleasure-Reading Recommendations

Sadly, nothing to recommend this month. What fun books have you enjoyed recently? Drop me a line in the comments!

WIP Excerpt

The sun was low in the sky when they pulled up outside The Wayfare Hotel for Restless Spirits.

MacMillian gazed up at the immense old Victorian.  He hadn’t believed it possible, but it looked even gloomier and more imposing than usual.  Its dark bays and turrets cut stark, jagged shadows into the dreary sky.  The leaded glass windows reflected the greenery of The Panhandle across the street, as though to deflect curious eyes from whatever went on inside.

Lena made no move to get out of the Fury.  She stared at The Wayfare through the passenger’s side window, her hands worrying in her lap.  MacMillian barely heard her when she said, “It looks awfully empty, doesn’t it?”

He’d thought the same thing countless times, but he didn’t tell her that.  Instead, he pushed open his door, lifted his leg from the car and set it firmly on the ground.  He checked to make sure no cars were coming, then pulled himself from the car and onto his feet.  He ducked down and met Lena’s eyes.  “I’ll come around.”

She nodded, her lips compressed into a firm, thin line.  MacMillian straightened again.  He left his cane in the back seat and started around the front of the car, one hand grazing the hood.

Lena had unbuckled by the time he reached the passenger door.  MacMillian opened it, and offered down a hand.  She took it, and he gently drew her to her feet.  She didn’t let go right away.  “Thanks.”

“Of course.”  The skin on the back of her hand was fine and smooth, at odds with the faint callouses on her palm.  MacMillian resisted the urge to run his thumb over her knuckles.  “How long are you staying here?”

Lena sighed, raised one shoulder, dropped it again.  “Not sure.  I just want to make sure Cyrus is okay.  He shouldn’t have to be here alone tonight.”

MacMillian thought about their conversation at the cemetery, and nodded.  “You may be right about that.”

Lena’s eyes sharpened on his face.  “Did he say something to you?”

“Not in so many words.”  He realized he was still holding her hand, and released her.  “But I remember when my brother died.  I was a lot of things.  ‘Okay’ wasn’t one of them.”

“Of course.”  Lena’s gaze softened.  “I forget sometimes, you know what this is like.”

He did, but now didn’t feel like the time to talk about it.  Not with the dirt on her sister’s grave still fresh.  MacMillian ducked his head, and stepped back.  “If you need anything, call.  I’ll keep my phone close.”

“There is one thing.”  Something in her voice made him look up.  Lena hesitated.  “I know this is a lot, and I probably shouldn’t even ask, but…tomorrow.  Could you…would you maybe…?”

MacMillian released a breath he’d forgotten taking.  “I’ll come back.  First thing, if you want me to.”

A knot of tension disappeared from her forehead.  “Thank you,” she murmured.  She looked away.  Almost immediately, her eyes darted back to his face.  “I’m sorry.  This is probably the last thing you—”

MacMillian held up a hand.  “Don’t apologize.  Not to me.”  He met her eyes.  “You don’t have to feel guilty about needing a friend.”

“A friend.”  A cloud passed over her eyes.  “We’re friends.”

He didn’t understand the look on her face.  “Aren’t we?”

Lena blinked, and looked down.  “After everything that’s been happening lately…” She blew out a breath.  “Jes, you could have been hurt.  You wouldn’t even know about this world if it wasn’t for me, and I—”

MacMillian took a step forward again.  He notched a finger under her chin, and gently tilted her head until she looked at him.  The soft glide of her skin combined with the look on her face made his chest feel like someone was sitting on it.  “You don’t have to feel guilty,” he repeated.

Her pulse jumped beneath his finger.  Lena kept her eyes on his.  “Do you?”

Had he thought her hand was soft? The spot under her chin was like silk.  MacMillian swallowed hard.  “Not for the things I should.”


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Published by L.J.K. Oliva

L.J.K. Oliva writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance, with a heavy dash of suspense. She likes her whiskey strong, her chocolate dark, and her steak bloody. Most of all, L.J.K. likes monsters... and knows the darkest ones don't live in closets.

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