Anatomy of A World of Gothic: House at the Edge (Greece) by MM Jaye

Introduction

My participation in the A World of Gothic series was my proudest moment as an author last year. Talented, award-wining authors penning suspenseful stories with a definite Gothic vibe, each set in a different location around the world, all taking place in a remote, awe-inspiring mansion. As a number of amazing titles have been available since the series launched last April, I felt I should bring them to your attention again, from a different angle this time. So, each week, I’ll invite one of the series’ authors here, spotlight her book and focus on the heroine, the hero, and the backbone of any good Gothic story, the house/castle/mansion that tends to hold the key to solving the mysteries piling up.

This week, it’s my turn. I published House at the Edge last May, and although the setting is again Alonissos, my favorite Greek island, the ambiance is a complete one-eighty from my usual summery scenery. Read on for a complete breakdown of House at the Edge.

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House at the Edge

Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Genres: Gothic, paranormal, mystery romance
Purchase links: Amazon US / Amazon UK / iTunes / Kobo / B&N 

Description

He wants her out of his house. The house agrees…

After losing everything—her family, her home, her sense of self—former heiress, Daphne Alesi, has no choice but to start anew. Broke, unwanted, and suffering from a rare condition that makes defining her emotions mind-numbingly difficult, the only thing she has left is a strong will to survive.

Starting over on a remote Greek island, in the dead of winter, just because it was her grandmother’s birthplace might be a foolish plan, but staying in England is not an option.

The people of Alonissos are far from welcoming, not least the brooding recluse whose home she literally invades. The infamous House at the Edge is rumored to host a ghost—the soul of the enigmatic owner’s deceased wife. But it will take more than an angry spirit to send Daphne fleeing.

Being emotionally detached has some benefits, after all.

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I’ve done a Q&A with the other authors in the series, but it would be weird to answer my own questions, so I’ll just segmentize the anatomy.

What writing a Gothic means to me.

This was a challenge. But although I live a consciously drama-free life, since it threw my way enough challenges to make me not seek out more, writing-wise I’m a thrill-seeker. When Alicia Dean called for submissions for the A World of Gothic series, I jumped in without even thinking it through. I had no clue about the story I’d write. And the mystery suspenses I’d read were books published in the mid-twentieth century, not exactly fresh stuff. All I knew was that my heroine had to be stranded in a remote place, the setting should be the exact opposite of warm and fuzzy, and the hero had to be mysterious and aloof, casting a shadow of danger. Oh, and a ghost should be lurking somewhere. Cakewalk. Not. But a delicious challenge it was.

My female lead: Daphne Alesi

I love writing complex characters, and I don’t limit this only to my male heroes. I needed a plausible reason for Daphne to go to a remote Greek island in the dead of winter and stay there despite everyone’s negativity. Also, the biggest driver for me to write romance is the healing power of love to damaged characters, and their denial both that they are damaged and that they need healing. So Daphne had to be immune to everyone’s logic. The islanders efforts to chase her off shouldn’t scare her. But that would only be true if she wouldn’t emote. As in suffering from an emotional disorder. Once I reached that conclusion, it was easy to research and decide she’d suffer from alexithymia–inability to decipher emotions and react accordingly. On the other hand, since she’d lost everything back in England and was desperate to find her roots in the island her great-grandmother gave birth to her grandmother, deciding to move to that island and then stick mulishly to her decision despite looming dangers made more sense.

My male lead: Manos Varnezis

Owner of a remote mansion? Check. Ruggedly handsome and aloof? Check. A reclusive widower with a traumatic past? Check. Okay, good stuff for the Gothic vibe this story needed, but he sounded kind of cliche. I dislike standard romantic heroes whose wealth is a static thing, and they do nothing but sulk. Manos had to do something constructive with his life. So I made him a certified speech therapist, working with kids with learning or speech difficulties online. The power of the internet gave that recluse the ability to do something useful with his life and made him a more developed character for my book.

The chemistry between the two? It was a slow build, but a fire that erupted out of nowhere (hello, ghost!) made it burn hotter than the flames. Daphne imposed herself in Manos’ residence as the cook he didn’t know he needed, and she gradually reminded him that he actually needed human interaction as well. Love bloomed, but the house wasn’t down with that. Then things turned ugly.

Wearing the casting director hat

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Oh, Jamie. Disclaimer: I’m not a 50 Shades fan. At all. But Jamie would make the perfect Manos. The scruff, the piercing gaze, the baritone voice. It’s all there. In spades. And Zooey Deschanel would be the ideal Daphne. Quirky yet strong and determined with a skewed self-image, thanks to her ex-model, gorgeous mom who she hasn’t taken after, Daphne finds herself with nothing but fights to earn her right to happiness. They’d make a beautiful couple. I actually had Zooey in mind when looking for stock photo models for the book cover, and I think I nailed it 🙂

 

The antagonist: the House at the Edge (from the book)

The rain was falling in sheets, forcing me to squint, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the house. The ground floor was dressed in dark natural stone, while the upper level’s façade bore the signs of neglect with streaks of brown, angry scars on a once pristine white surface. Shafts of gray granite lined the domed windows, and if the metal arched mullions weren’t a Gothic nod, the thick turrets pointing to the pewter sky made me think I had entered a portal to a different world—one miles away from a Greek island.

A dazzling white streak of lightning slashed between the beckoning lightning rods perched on the tips of the turrets, pulling me from my trance. I let the bike drop onto the brown slush and ran up the wide marble steps. Somewhat protected under the portico, I stood and stared at the dragon-shaped metal door knocker.

The thought that I was in over my head evaporated with the rumbling thunder, crashing behind me. No, there was no going back.

The greater setting: the island of Alonissos

The stereotypic image of a Greek island makes an unlikely setting for a Gothic mystery romance. But the Greek isles, removed from the throngs of tourists and frequent ship routes, can be quite inhospitable in the winter. Alonissos is no exception. It’s small with a population of just over two thousand, fighting recession like every other part of Greece. So an ignorant English-speaking girl who suddenly lands there, demanding to find employment when the island can’t feed its own would certainly not be welcome. And if she catches the attention of the island’s most eligible bachelor, hostility can turn to danger.

That’s it from me, today. Tune in next week for another awesome Q&A!

For more on the A World of Gothic series, visit our Facebook page

 

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Fate Awakened is LIVE (99c for a limited time)

Fate Awakened, the second (standalone) book in the Greek Tycoons series is LIVE on all Amazon stores. I’ve set the price at 99 cents for a limited time only. The regular price for this full-length novel will be at $2.99. Also, if you’ve missed Fate Captured (Book One in the series) now is your chance to dive into this Aegean-drenched, award-winning story since you can get it for FREE until Sunday! Both books are available in two heat versions: Clean and Spicy. All books guarantee an epic HEA. No cliffhanger. Scroll down to see some teasers and read an entire scene of Fate Awakened.

Fate Awakened (Spicy romance): Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA

Fate Awakened (Clean romance): Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA

Fate Captured (Spicy romance): Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA

Fate Captured (Clean romance): Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA

Fate Awakened combined

Book Description

He’s in a gilded prison.

Alex Argiros looks like he owns the board room, yet he’d trade his bespoke suits for scrubs in the blink of an eye. But he’ll be damned if he plays into the hands of his nemesis before securing his late father’s legacy. About to seal the deal that will finally set him free, the last thing he needs is a new, fresh-out-of-college PA. Especially one that feeds his associates with home-made pies and his mind with wild, wicked thoughts.

She’s on a mission.

Monica Mitchell has come to Athens, Greece, with a single goal: to prove to her childhood crush that her adult self has grown out of the habit of flashing her underwear and looking like a zombie flick castoff…in public.

The catch? She has to hide who she is.

Easy as pie. The demure PA looks nothing like the red-haired disaster magnet Alex once knew. Still, their explosive chemistry soon leads to bone-melting passion. But when her family pulls the rug from under Alex’s feet again, she knows she has to come clean or face his devastating wrath.

She knows but needs just a little longer to savor his searing kisses…

 

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Teasers

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Excerpt

Of course, he would be here, Monica thought as she slowly rose to her feet, holding his piercing gaze. It wasn’t twelve o’clock yet. The day wasn’t over. In the next hour, she could see him turn into a frog and still not bat an eyelid.

No, that’s two different fairy tales.

Alex just stood there and stared at her. “Did you send those faxes?” he grated.

Monica rolled her eyes. Him and his faxes. “I did send the faxes,” she said in carefully spaced words. “And who uses faxes nowadays, anyway?” She took a swig from her bottle, her eyes on him.

His frown was so deep, his brows almost touched.

Oh, this is fun.

On her way there, her anger had dissipated. Things had been moving too fast. She’d been working for him for just two weeks. How could she expect him to sort out his feelings when in just a couple of hours, she turned from the prim PA to a naked tease? Okay, she hadn’t done it on purpose, but still…

Without warning, Alex took hold of her arm and dragged her to a corner where the din from the street was not so loud.

“Listen, Monica,” he rasped, “I was with a woman just before.”

Patience, she reminded herself, squelching the flutter of disappointment that dared mess with the good place she was in. She arched her brows expectantly as she did when she took dictation from him.

“I see.”

He yanked her arm. “Dammit, didn’t you hear me? I was with a woman.

Extracting her arm from his grip, she gave him a sweet smile. “How can I help you with that?”

“You helped a great deal,” he hissed, “with your antics in the swimming pool and … after.”

“I’m sorry, I see no connection.”

Alex’s eyes darted to the street and he leaned closer. “I intended to be with that woman, tonight, but I … couldn’t, thanks to you.”

Goosebumps covered her as a strong feeling of possessiveness took over her.

Monica, one; other woman, zero.

“Should I feel sorry about that?”

Alex’s dark gaze lost some of its fire. “No, of course not. In fact, I’m the one who should apologize…” He run his hand over his hair. “However, it can’t happen between us.”

Although prepared, her heart sank.

“Dammit, not as long as you work for me.” His eyes softened and his hard grip on her shoulder became an intimate squeeze. “But if the deal with Roe is sealed, I will leave the company and then…” Raising his hands, he ran his fingers through her hair, fanning it out.

Monica’s breath caught in her throat. What was he saying? Was he actually admitting that he wanted them to be together?

His face hardened again, and he let his hands fall to his sides. “But until then, I’m your boss and you’re my assistant. No more … getting naked in my pool.”

Monica nodded and bit her lower lip, trying not to smile. He had all but said it. Well, that was as close an admittance as she would get for the time being. Because when the deal was sealed…

“Tomorrow, I’ll fly to London. I might as well be there, since Roe might come up with all sorts of delays again. And I can’t afford to have any more delays.” With a sigh, he cupped her chin and his thumb caressed her lower lip.

“I could always send him some of my orgasmic pie—” she ventured, aware that it was her beer-boosted nerve speaking.

Alex’s eyes darkened, and she could see the juggler’s fire reflected in their depths. Leaning down, he brought his lips a hairbreadth away from hers.

“Let me go home, little siren,” he said, his hot whiskey-smelling breath warming her already flushed face. “Otherwise, you’ll tempt me to follow you and then, believe me, I’ll show you what orgasmic truly means.” He snatched the beer bottle from her, took a long swig, handed it back and took off.

Monica swayed. She didn’t dare turn to watch him leave. She just stared at the bottle in her hand. Slowly, she brought it to her lips and licked its rim. That would be the last of Alex’s delicious DNA she’d sample for at least a week.

Oh, if pies could make Donald Roe sign the damn deal quicker, she would roll out enough phyllo to pave the road to London.

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If you enjoyed that, here are those links again:

Fate Awakened (Spicy romance): Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA

Fate Awakened (Clean romance): Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA

Fate Captured (Spicy romance): Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA

Fate Captured (Clean romance): Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA

 

 

 

Fate Captured seeks ARC recipients

 

First of all, I should officially announce that Fate Captured, my upcoming contemporary romance, won an award! First place in the Contemporary category of the 2015 Heart to Heart contest, organized by the San Francisco Area chapter of RWA.

https://sfarwa.net/contest-winners.htm

I submitted only part of my manuscript to the contest, and it took me a while to shape it the way I wanted, but it’s ready to pop out of the oven. I love the story, I’m head over heels in love with Trish and Markos, and I hope readers will love them, too. Again, I prepared two versions: a “clean” story (closed door bedroom scenes) and a Spicy one where nothing is insinuated. 😉

Fate Captured is Book One in the Greek Tycoons series. It’s a standalone contemporary romance, featuring a cocky Greek hero, a meddling heroine who’s set on fixing him … after she breaks him, a Greek island setting, hot conflicts, hotter makeups and an epic HEA.

The book will need a boost from early reviewers, so I’ve decided to send out Advance Reader’s Copies to readers who enjoy reading romance books. If you’re interested in receiving a complementary copy of Fate Captured before its official release on April 21 in exchange for an honest review on Amazon, please sign up, using the following form:

http://goo.gl/forms/KMzz6jTjNE

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The beautiful covers for the two versions are credited to Alex of 187Designz.

And here is the blurb:

Can two wrongs win Mr. Right?

Trish Swan is living her dream. She gave up chilly Boston for a sunny Greek island to write her novel. But she likes hot crime between the pages, not before her eyes. Yet, she doesn’t think twice about turning in a video she captures of a cop roughing up a man–but maybe she should because fate throws her a curve ball she least expects.

The mind-numbingly hot Greek from the bar isn’t just a cocky bad boy in need of a little love. He’s a shipping heir wrongfully accused.

By her.

Career in ruins, Markos’ life is a hot mess, all thanks to one sexy do-gooder who keeps popping up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Touching her becomes addictive, so maybe he could forgive her for doing her civic duty. But when she dredges up ghosts from his past, messing with his sanity, she gets a real taste of what he’s capable of.

With a man’s life on the line, Trish prepares for a head-on collision that will push Markos over the edge. What does she stand to lose anyway? Her heart?

He already owns it.

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Here’s the link to the signup form again: http://goo.gl/forms/0kb0h8h7ek

In case, you remember my previous release, Fate Accompli, this book has been pulled down from Amazon, I’ve thoroughly edited it and will relaunch it early summer as Fate Awakened, Book Two in the Greek Tycoons series.

Whether you sign up to get an ARC or not, thank you for visiting my online home! I should blog more, but this year I work full time, and it’s not easy to juggle everything. I promise I’ll try harder though. 🙂

MM Jaye

 

 

 

 

 

A visual tour of Alonissos (the setting of Fate Captured)

The culmination of the story of Fate Captured, Book 1 in my Greek Tycoons series, takes place in the beautiful island of Alonissos. Having just returned from my annual visit, it’s only fair I pay tribute with a post choked in stunning visuals.

Location

Alonissos belongs to the cluster of the Northern Sporades along with Skiathos and Skopelos. But, unlike these two larger islands that attract throngs of tourists, Alonissos retains the breath-taking natural beauty of the North Aegean islands without the noise, the clutter and the sometimes offputting touristy feel.

Map image – http://www.greeka.com

To me, the island of Alonissos holds emotional value as it is the place where my husband proposed back in 2002. What’s more, it’s the place that inspired me to start penning my Aegean Lovers series. It was only fair that I chose that setting. And, luckily, it’s an ongoing affair. I visit it every summer as my in-laws have a summer house there. Want to take a tour?

The Beaches

Alonissos has sixteen beaches one can access by car and countless bays accessible only by boat. Here are the most popular.

Agios Dimitrios

Image via http://www.wondergreece.gr

Leftos Yialos

Leftos

Tzortzi Yialos

Image via http://www.wondergreece.gr

Megalos Mourtias

Meg. Mourtias

Kokkinokastro

Image via e-thessalia.gr

Votsi

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Chrissi Milia

Chrissi

Milia

Image via http://www.wondergreece.gr

Alonissos in Mythology

The island’s ancient name was Ikos, and its first inhabitant was Stafylos (meaning “grape”) the son of Dionysus and Ariadne. Its second name “Achilliodromia” references Achilles whose father, Pileas, is said to have been buried there. Variances of that name are still seen as names of inns or restaurants: Liadromia, Hiliodromia. The Achaeans sailed from here to reclaim Helen of Troy and also Jason set off from Alonissos for his quest for the Golden Fleece.

The Old Village

Image via Sightseeing in Alonissos

Offering a magnificent view of the Aegean, Hora (as the locals call the Old Village) bears the trademark windy-street/steep-stairs combo of the Greek islands. More artsy than touristy, the little shops and cafes offer quality products, full of local charm.

Image via Sightseeing in Alonissos

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Patitiri

Image from Sightseeing in Alonissos

The picturesque central port of Alonissos is also the current capital of the island. Its name means “wine-press” in Greek.

Agii Anargiri

The chapel of the Holy Unmercenaries (Agii Anargiri) is tucked in a verdant slope at the edge of a cliff with breath-stealing views of emerald waters. It’s the place that I just have to visit each and every year. I also chose this as the location for a wedding that takes place in Fate Accompli.

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The lilac

Alonissos pushes the envelope forward where colors are concerned. Instead of the traditional white and blue of the Aegean, here you see lots of lilac (my favorite color) as a main color or in trimmings.

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Image via http://www.wondergreece.gr

The Marine Park

The National Marine Park of Alonissos and Northern Sporades is the first marine park established in Greece and a member of the Network of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean. Mostly known for its efforts to protect the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus Monachus) it is also the natural reserve for hundreds of plants and animals.

I captured a picture of a Monachus Monachus seal back in 2008, and it’s one of my most treasured pictures.

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How to get there

From Athens, you can take a flight to the island of Skiathos and then a flying dolphin or a catamaran to Alonissos. Alternatively, you can use the passenger bus service to reach the port of Agios Konstantinos (100 miles from Athens – one and a half hours drive) and then take a flying dolphin, ferry or catamaran for a three-hour trip to Alonissos. There are also direct flights to Skiathos from various European cities.

With such beauty how can I not be inspired to write my love stories in this setting?

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For a sensual romance story set on this breath-taking island, pick up Fate Captured, free through Kindle Unlimited.

Discover the enchanting The Lady of the Pier trilogy

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I’m a fan of Effrosyni Moschoudi’s books. Nostalgia blends with romance and adventure in the fantasy novel The Necklace of Goddess Athena, but The Lady of the Pier trilogy adds a karmic paranormal element that binds worlds and eras in a beautiful tale. Top that off with the beauty of the Greek seascape, and you’ve got yourself a winning combination. It is no coincidence that the The Lady of the Pier: The Ebb, Book 1 in the trilogy, was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards quarter-finalist.

And now, both The Lady of the Pier: The Ebb and the upcoming The Lady of the Pier: The Flow are on a $0.99 sale. Don’t miss out!

What is The Lady of the Pier trilogy about?

The Lady of the Pier trilogy tells the stories of Sofia and Laura – two girls from two different worlds who have a mysterious connection. In book 1, although similar in some ways, the two stories are seemingly unrelated. In book 2, they begin to merge and in the concluding volume, The Storm, they become one story. The author recommends to start reading from book 1. The Storm is in the editing stage and will be published in December 2015.

For free excerpts, visit http://effrosyniwrites.com/books/

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LOVE WILL GO ON FOREVER, SEEKING A SECOND CHANCE.

BRIGHTON, 1937

Dreaming of wealth and happiness, Laura Mayfield arrives in Brighton to pursue a new life. She falls for Christian Searle, a happy-go-lucky stagehand at the West Pier theatre, but when she’s offered a chance to perform there, her love for him is put to the test. Charles Willard, a wealthy aristocrat, is fascinated by her and pursues her relentlessly. Will Laura choose love… or money?

CORFU, 1987

On a long holiday with her grandparents, Sofia Aspioti meets Danny Markson, a charming flirt who makes her laugh. Although she tries to keep him at arm’s length, worried that village gossip will get back to her strict family, she falls desperately in love. That’s when strange dreams about Brighton’s West Pier and a woman dressed in black begin to haunt her. Who is this grieving woman? And how is her lament related to Sofia’s feelings for Danny?

Only 99c on Amazon!

Purchase Links: Amazon US  |   Amazon UK

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She won’t find peace until she finds redemption.
But it’ll take more than love; it’ll take two worlds, to merge into one.

BRIGHTON 1938

Laura and Christian enjoy a blissful summer, while Charles watches from a distance, waiting for the right time to intervene. This time, he’s prepared to do something truly vile as to leave nothing to chance. WWII breaks out, and Laura does her best to settle in a new life, having paid a terrible price. Will she find happiness at last, or will the past continue to haunt her?

CORFU 1988

Sofia arrives in Vassilaki brokenhearted over Danny. Just as a new boy comes into her life, the strange dreams start anew. Now in Brighton, she meets Danny again, but he blows hot and cold.  When she sees a female apparition on the West Pier, she finds out the locals call her ‘The Lady of the Pier’. Is this the woman in her dreams and why is Sofia the only one who can see her?

Official launch date: June 26, 2015

Available on preorder – only 99c for a limited time!

Purchase Links:  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

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The concluding part of the trilogy, The Storm, is currently in the editing stage.

It will be released in December 2015.

About the author

profpic 690x884 png 300dpiEffrosyni Moschoudi was born and raised in Athens, Greece. As a child, she often sat alone in her granny’s garden scribbling rhymes about flowers, butterflies and ants. Through adolescence, she wrote dark poetry that suited her melancholic, romantic nature. She’s passionate about books and movies and simply couldn’t live without them, particularly the ones starring Robert Pattinson, who is the constant inspiration behind her vulnerable romantic heroes. She lives in a quaint seaside town near Athens with her British husband Andy and a naughty cat called Felix. Effrosyni is a proud member of the writer’s group, eNovel Authors at Work.

What others say about Effrosyni’s writing:

“Effrosyni layers her words on the page like music.”

~Jackie Weger, National Best-selling Author

“Ms. Moschoudi is proving to be a skilled storyteller who takes her readers on a wonderful ride.”

~David M. Wind, author of Queen of Knights

Connect with Effrosyni

Site: http://www.effrosyniwrites.com

Amazon Author’s Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/effrosyni

Effrosyni at Enovel Authors at Work: http://enovelauthorsatwork.com/effrosyni-moschoudi/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/frostiemoss

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoreffrosyni

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7362780.Effrosyni_Moschoudi