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Author Spotlight / Giveaway: Elle E. Ire

Elle M.Ire

Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.

Giveaway: an ebook of the first book in the trilogy, Dead Woman’s Pond. Comment below for a chance to win.

Today:Elle E. Ire writes science fiction/romance and paranormal/romance featuring kickass women who fall in love with each other. Current publications include Vicious Circle (2015 and 2020), the Storm Fronts trilogy (2019-2020), the Nearly Departed trilogy (2021-2022), and Reel to Real Love (2021), all from DSP Publications. Elle is represented by Naomi Davis at the BookEnds Literary Agency.

Thanks so much, Elle, for joining me!

J. Scott Coatsworth: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?

Elle E. Ire: I knew I wanted to write from about the age of seven. I’d just seen Star Wars, and I knew I wanted to write strong women like Leia. I always wrote stories, but that’s when I began writing Star Wars fan fiction. In high school I was very shy, and I used my writing to make friends. People would ask what I was doing. (I’d write in study hall and during free periods at my school.) Sometimes I would share a few pages. When they started asking for more, I realized this might be something I was good at.

JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre? 

EI: My tagline “Deadly Women, Dangerous Romance” says a lot about what I write and really encompasses my body of work. I write science fiction and paranormal (and soon possibly a contemporary fantasy) featuring powerful women who fall in love with each other or are already in love when the book opens. As for style, my work is usually high action content, heavy angst from the protagonist, and snarky/sarcastic interior dialogue. I often write in first person to really immerse the reader in the main character’s psyche but will occasionally use third person if the story speaks to me that way.

JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it. 

EI: Vicious Circle (2015, rereleased in 2020) was my first published novel. It was also my first women-loving-women book, which really indicated to me that I’d found my niche. The genre is science fantasy, meaning there are spaceships but there is also magic. We pitched it as Xena: Warrior Princess in space where the subtext is the main text. The main character is an assassin with a strong moral sense who only takes on contracts to kill truly evil individuals and protect the innocent by doing so.

JSC: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research? 

EI: I participated in a fake kidnapping. There’s a company that runs unusual simulated experiences and interactive dramatic presentations. I’ve done several activities with them. This one involved meeting in the parking lot of a park after dark, bags over our heads, noise-canceling headphones, and being placed in a car and driven to an unknown location. Once there, we got to go to a party to break the tension. I took an ex-military friend with me, and I had my spouse follow the car in our vehicle with his GPS locked onto my phone, just in case. 😉

JSC: Do you use a pseudonym? If so, why? If not, why not? 

EI: I do use a pseudonym. There are several reasons. One, my real last name is very difficult to both spell and pronounce. Two, I’m a teacher in “Don’t Say Gay” Florida. This means I need to keep my teaching life and my author life separate, even though I would prefer not to.

JSC: Do your books spring to life from a character first or an idea? 

EI: My books always start with a character, and that character usually comes to me in a dream. I have a habit of dreaming storylines. Characters literally talk to me in dreams, tell me their names, have entire conversations either with me or another dreamed character. They show me their lives, their fears, and the conflicts they are in. I just follow along for the ride and then build a story around them.

JSC: What were your goals and intentions in Dead Woman’s Secret, and how well do you feel you achieved them? 

EI: Well, Dead Woman’s Secret is the final book in this story arc of the Nearly Departed series. I wanted to really show the main character coming into her own, accepting that she is a hero whether she wants to be one or not, and embracing and mastering her powers. I wanted to solidify the relationship between the two lovers, and I wanted to bring the whole story “home” by returning to the original setting of Festivity, Florida. And of course I had to tie up the loose ends while leaving one or two threads open for a possible second trilogy later. I think I did pretty well in reaching my goals. I’m happy with the series as a whole.

JSC: Who did your cover, and what was the design process like? 

EI: Anna Sikorska and the art department over at DSP Publications did the cover art. I absolutely LOVE working with her and them. They send me a form to fill out for each cover, asking for character descriptions, settings, colors that mean something to the story, and important objects/images I want included. Usually, I’ve already done a lot of the legwork by going through stock images and picking ones I’d like to see used on the cover or something similar. DSP’s art department is fantastic at getting the image I have in my head onto the actual book. They have brought every one of my ideas to life, and I’m thrilled with all my covers. For this series, we picked significant objects as the cover focal points, in particular objects that represent whichever character will face the most danger in that book, so if you’re paying attention to the cover for Dead Woman’s Secret, you can guess which character will suffer most in book three.

JSC: Do you have any strange writing habits or superstitions? 

EI: Oh yes. I do a couple of things to really stay in my characters’ heads. I have entire conversations between characters out loud in a room by myself. I will recite the same scene over and over again until I feel like the dialogue sounds authentic for each character. I also like to go on what I call “character walks.” I’ll stroll through town, outside, into buildings, and imagine how my character would perceive everything. What would my construction worker character think of this architecture? What kind of threat assessment would my assassin character make of this area? What might my mercenary soldier character use here as a makeshift weapon?

JSC: What are you working on now, and what’s coming out next? Tell us about it!

EI: Right now I’m working on what I describe as a cross between Dungeons & Dragons and The Wizard of Oz – with lesbians. And releasing on August 2, 2022, is Harsh Reality. Here’s the blurb:

After demon elementals kill the good folks Sheriff Cali McCade has sworn to protect, the last place she expects to find herself is the future.

Cali McCade is happy being the only female sheriff in the West until evil destroys her town of Oblivion and everyone in it. But when a magical creature sends her forward in time, Cali gets a chance for justice—and to stop history from repeating itself.

Now, on the set of Harsh Reality, a television show that challenges average people to survive in historical settings, Cali isn’t just the sheriff of Oblivion—she also plays herself on TV. It isn’t easy to find her path in this new world, but at least she knows what her “character” would do… even if it’s a little strange to be navigating a blooming romance with the woman playing Arlene, her long-lost love.

When the elementals show up to destroy Oblivion all over again, can Cali find a way to defeat the demons, keep her cover, and still ride off into the sunset? 

Dead Woman's Secret - Elle E. Ire

And now for Elle’s new book: Dead Woman’s Secret:

Flynn Dalton just wants to marry her girlfriend, Genesis, go back to her construction job, and get on with her life. But first she has to defeat a revenge-crazed psychic succubus who is erasing people from existence….

 Flynn is in a tough spot. The National Psychic Registry will exile Genesis for her use of dark magic if Flynn doesn’t do their bidding… and Gen doesn’t even know the Registry is using her for leverage. The only way for Flynn to get her life back–and protect Gen–is to find and kill Tempest Granfeld, the disembodied succubus removing Registry members from time. 

 But no matter how hard Flynn works, she makes little progress. Using her abilities takes a mental and physical toll, and she’s so tired that she can’t keep an eye on Gen, who’s struggling with her dark magic addiction.

When Tempest sets her sights on Genesis, Flynn is pushed to her breaking point. Can she embrace her power once and for all and be the hero Gen needs? Dead Woman’s Secret is the thrilling conclusion to Elle E. Ire’s spine-tingling, immersive Nearly Departed trilogy. Fans of lesbian fiction, psychic problem-solvers, and badass heroines will lose themselves in this sexy, spooky paranormal adventure.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Chapter 1
Making Mistakes 

“Ooof.” My impact with the conference room wall behind me knocks the wind from my lungs and rattles the lighting fixture hanging above my head. I slide down the smooth surface to thump ass-first on the parquet wood floor. 

“Let’s go, Dalton! It’s not nap time. Heroes aren’t born. They’re made.”

I favor Nathaniel with my best glare. My vision’s a little blurry from the disorientation of the hit, but my expression is still formidable, judging from the way he clamps his jaw shut. He’s not part of this fight. He’s not even breaking a sweat. He’s the coordinator, the spectator, the assessor, standing off to the side in his neat tan trousers and white Polo shirt, leaning against the wall with his loafer-clad feet crossed at the ankles like he’s waiting for a golf match.

“Look, asshole,” I wheeze, and that’s as far as I get before another blast of psychic energy wraps around my torso and drags me upright until my steel-toed boots leave the floor. I’m reminded of a scene from Poltergeist, helpless and flailing, Harrah’s Casino T-shirt riding up to reveal my white sports bra beneath, before I’m tossed aside to land on my left shoulder.

Two days ago, that would have hurt like a bitch. Okay, it still hurts like a bitch. But Cassandra, the National Psychic Registry’s best healer and love potion maker, took care of the water moccasin bite damage there. So it only hurts like a bitch rather than like a sonofabitch.

I roll sideways with the landing, the first move I’ve done right this whole match, and come up on my feet, panting and sweating. Turning, I face my attacker, and even though I’ve been fighting her for the last half hour, I blink.

Mimi is, at most, five three, and that’s counting the white tennis shoes she wears. Slight of build with delicate hands and feet and spindly limbs. Pixie-style blond hair, bright blue eyes, a narrow face with high cheekbones and a slightly pointed chin. Add in her brown corduroys and green sweater, and she’d blend in with storybook forest nymphs.

At five eight I tower over her. My strength, built from years working in construction and a youth of competitive bowling, gymnastics, and swimming, could snap her tiny body in two.

And she’s got me completely, utterly whipped.

She gives me a sympathetic little smile, as if to say, Sorry, it’s not personal, and extends her hands toward me again.

I bring my own up out of instinct, palms toward her, in a pointless attempt to ward her off. It does me no good whatsoever.

The megablast knocks me ass over teakettle so hard I do a perfect backward roll and again plant my soles firmly on the floor to stand. Muscles I haven’t used since high school scream their protest, but memories of my gymnast days reawaken in the rattled corners of my brain.

I’m supposed to be fighting back. Using my succubus power, I took a pull from Mimi’s telekinetic energy a half hour ago, and if I could concentrate for one goddamn minute, I could figure out how to manipulate that power to return fire. Except she hasn’t given me the chance. She hasn’t given me a single break.

Just like a real enemy, dumbass.

I tell my internal critic to shut the hell up and cartwheel right as another orange-yellow—at least to my sight—beam streaks my way. She misses my moving target. Her first miss since we started.

Might just be on to something here.

If I can’t fight back, at least I can keep myself from being turned into one massive purple bruise. Though judging from the welts already visible on both my arms and the soreness in my back and legs, it might be too late for that.

And I’m supposed to take Genesis out for her birthday tonight.

I do a dive-roll that brings me up beside Nathaniel, who is studying the sparring session with his magic-sight; he sees power usage and can identify it, analyze its type. I can only see what I’m immediately using and interacting with.

“You’re not fighting back. You’re not using her energy at all. You’re never going to survive a confrontation with that rogue succubus, Tempest Granfeld, if you don’t start taking the offensive.”

“Only thing I find offensive around here is you, you little toad,” I mutter, scrambling sideways like a crab to avoid another jolt. The telekinetic power zings close enough to raise the hairs on my arm and lift the long brown ponytail off the back of my neck like extreme static.

Mimi pauses to gather her strength. I’m wearing down her reserves, but that’s not a technique I can use in a real fight where someone’s actually trying to kill me. I would have been long dead by now if I faced Tempest instead of Mimi.

In the brief interim, I grab a hold of the telekinetic power I absorbed, turning it over inside myself, trying to narrow its intensity to a beam like my opponent’s.

And failing.

Her next blast hurls me into the double entry doors, slamming the push bar inward and tossing me across the outer hallway running the length of the convention center of the hotel. I hit the carpet hard enough to shove my T-shirt upward and give me rug burns down my spine. The startled elderly couple standing over me stares, mouths agape, no words coming out.

I use the gray-haired woman’s walker to haul myself upright, then pat her wrinkled hand. “Thanks. And sorry. Stuntman convention.”

Her husband, I presume, glances toward the still-swinging doors to the conference room, eyes wide as if he expects God knows what to come out after me. He’s not too far off the mark.

Mimi steps into the doorway, holding the right-hand door open with her palm and shooting me a disapproving look. “You’re breaking the boundary rules,” she scolds. “You never know who might—” She spots the couple and freezes, face blossoming into a friendly smile. The slight gold spark, easily explained away by the gaudy overhead chandeliers, fades from her eyes. “Oh, hi! Martial arts class,” she says.

“I thought you were attending a stuntman convention.” The old woman narrows her gaze on me, like she’s caught an unruly student cheating on a test. I’m betting she’s a retired teacher.

“Yep, martial arts demonstrations are part of the convention activities. Gotta go!” I hobble away from them, sliding past Mimi into the conference room. The doors bang shut. Her power catches me between the shoulder blades and flattens me.

“Aw, come on. That was a time-out,” I groan.

“Granfeld won’t give you time-outs,” Mimi says. Then, “Sorry, Flynn. I’m under orders to work you hard.”

And I know just whose orders she means. Linda Argyle’s. Madame President. The woman who blackmailed me into the Registry’s service by threatening to punish Genesis for her second use of dark magic.

What Argyle doesn’t realize is I would have agreed to help anyway. Granfeld’s tampering with time has put all the Registry members at risk. Including Gen. Including me. Any one of us could vanish from existence, and we have no idea who her next target will be. Which means they needed a hero. And I’m just a sucker that way.

Being the only other succubus alive with the ability to walk through time doesn’t hurt either.

I lever myself upright once more, frustration and failure warring for dominance. Can’t get out of the way. Can’t use Mimi’s power.

But I can still use mine.

I turn and face Mimi just as she hurls another blast, and catch the beam mid-arc, pulling it into myself. It surges in my core, mixing with the rest of the energy I obtained from her. Her eyes widen, and a grin curls her lips.

Between my legs, arousal builds, a heated, aching need that always comes as a direct result of the usage of my “talents.” I swallow a moan and picture innocuous images in my mind: Mother Theresa, Gandhi, the Pope. Not enough. Casino mogul Donald Trump. The lust vanishes, replaced by faint nausea.

Mimi tries again, and I do the same thing, storing more and more of her telekinetic power and draining her of her ability to use it herself. She’s already tired, her levels low. It doesn’t take long before she has nothing left.

Then, suffused with her energy, things click into place. I’m still too clumsy to create a nice narrow beam, but I can throw a wall of it in her direction, and I do it, with all the grace and finesse of a sumo wrestler in a ballet recital. She flies backward, slamming into Nathaniel, who happens to be right behind her, which he mistakenly assumed to be the safest place in the room.

“Take that, spy.”

President Argyle had Nathaniel watching me and Genesis for months, spying on my abilities, testing and tormenting us both. It felt good to toss Mimi into him.

Then I notice neither of them is moving.

Aw hell.

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