Spotlight & Author Interviews: L’Origine + Giveaway

LOrigine Tour Banner

 

Book Title:  L’Origine: The secret life of the world’s most erotic masterpiece
by Lilianne Milgrom
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+), 255 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher:  Girl Friday Books – a new imprint from Girl Friday Productions
Release Date: 2020 first edition. October 2021 re-released by Girl Friday Books
Content Rating:  R. My book does not have bad language and only one descriptive sex scene, but the protagonist is a painting whose explicit depiction of a woman’s lower torso and genitals has made it a controversial work of art for over a century and a half.

Book Description:

The riveting odyssey of one of the world’s most scandalous works of art.

In 1866, maverick French artist Gustave Courbet painted one of the most iconic images in the history of art: a sexually explicit portrait of a woman’s exposed genitals. Audaciously titled L’Origine du monde (The Origin of the World), the scandalous painting was kept hidden for a century and a half. Today, it hangs in the world-renowned Orsay Museum in Paris, viewed by millions of visitors a year.

​As the first artist authorized by the Orsay Museum to re-create Courbet’s The Origin of the World, author Lilianne Milgrom was thrust into the painting’s intimate orbit, spending six weeks replicating every fold, crevice, and pubic hair. The experience inspired her to share her story and the painting’s titillating, clandestine history. L’Origine is a tale of survival, replete with French revolutionaries, Turkish pashas and nefarious Nazi captains. Hold onto your berets for a riveting ride through history.

Tell us a little about how this story first came to be.
It all began about ten years ago when I was in Paris on an artist’s residency. I had six glorious weeks to pursue my creative passions but I didn’t have any specific artistic roadmap in mind. To get the creative juices flowing I visited the magnificent Orsay Museum and encountered a painting that turned my world upside down: Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine du monde (The Origin of the World), painted in 1866. Once you see this infamous painting you are not likely to forget it. In fact, I kept coming back to it because it resonated with me as both an artist and as a woman. I gained permission to become the first authorized copyist of the painting and then spent close to a decade researching and writing my award-winning novel ‘L’Origine: The Secret life of the World’s Most Erotic Masterpiece.’ It was pure serendipity!

If it’s not a spoiler, what does the title mean?
The title of my book, ‘L’Origine’ means ‘The Origin’ and refers to the protagonist of my novel – Gustave Courbet’s painting The Origin of the World. The novel traces the painting’s extraordinary adventures across centuries and continents. I debated about whether to have the French word in the title and decided that since the artist was French and the book takes place mainly in Paris, it would set the stage for a French-themed historical fiction.

What, if anything, did you learn when writing the book?
That writing a book is hard work!! It requires dedication, motivation and persistence–often in the face of obstacles and setbacks. I was obsessed with telling the story of a painting that is not well known outside of France and it has been so rewarding to hear from readers who credit my book for giving them a greater appreciation of art’s role in history. A book can reach a multitude.

What surprised you the most in writing it?
I honestly did not think I could stick to any project for ten years, but the story just needed to be told. Up until that point, aside from my career as a studio artist, I had been writing freelance articles for arts publications. I found my own unique voice as a novelist.

Were any of the characters inspired by real people? If so, do they know?
The novel spans a century and a half from 1866 through to 2010. All of the characters in L’Origine are based on real life persons who are no longer alive. However, I would love to hear what they think of the way I portrayed them…!

Do you consider the book to have a lesson or moral?
That’s an interesting question. Gustave Courbet, the French artist who painted The Origin of the World is actually one of my heroes because I admire his unwavering principles, his unshakable drive and his belief in himself. I guess those are the lessons I learned from him and I hope readers will feel the same way.

What is your favorite part of the book?
The book is a hybrid memoir/historical fiction. I like both aspects. The prologue narrates my personal and intimate adventures with the painting, and the historical fiction narrative takes us on an exciting rollercoaster ride through history.

What are your immediate future plans?
I am writing my second novel entitled The Boudoir Princess–another historical fiction. The reader will have to determine if the main character was a scheming murderess or a victim of circumstance…


Meet the Author:

Paris-born Lilianne Milgrom is an internationally acclaimed artist and award-winning author residing in Washington DC. In 2011, she became the first authorized copyist of Gustave Courbet’s controversial painting L’Origine du Monde, which hangs in the Orsay Museum in Paris. Milgrom spent a decade researching and writing L’Origine: The Secret Life of the World’s Most Erotic Masterpiece. Her debut novel has been awarded six literary honors including the Publisher’s Weekly 2021 US Selfies Book Award for Best Adult Fiction.

 

connect the author:  website ~ twitter ~ instagram  


Tour Schedule:

​Feb 1 – Working Mommy Journal – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 1 – fundinmental – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Feb 2 – Gold Dust Editing & Book Reviews – spotlight / interview / giveaway
Feb 2 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 7 – Books for Books – book spotlight
Feb 8 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Feb 9 – Kam’s Place – book spotlight
Feb 10 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 14 – Sefina Hawke’s Books – book spotlight
Feb 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Feb 16 – Sadie’s Spotlight – spotlight / interview / giveaway
Feb 17 – Westveil Publishing – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Feb 21 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway


 Enter the Giveaway:

L’Origine Book Tour Giveaway

Spotlight & Author Interview: Second Star to the Left + Giveaway

Second Star to the Left tour stops (blog)

Second Star to the Left Cover

Second Star to the Left
by Megan Van Dyke
Series: Reimagined Fairy Tales
Genre: Romantic Fantasy
Intended Age Group: Adult
Pages: 350ish
Published: February 15, 2022
Publisher: City Owl Press

Universal buy linkGoodreads

Book Blurb:

Tinker Bell, banished from her homeland for doing the unthinkable, selling the hottest drug in Neverland—pixie dust—wants absolution.

Determined to find a way home, Tink doesn’t hesitate to follow the one lead she has, even if that means seducing a filthy pirate to steal precious gems out from under his…hook.

Captain Hook believes he’s found a real treasure in Tink. That is, until he recovers from her pixie dust laced kiss with a curse that turns the seas against him. With his ship and reputation at the mercy of raging storms, he tracks down the little minx and demands she remove the curse. Too bad she can’t.

However, the mermaid queen has a solution to both of their problems, if Tink and Hook will work together to retrieve a magical item for her.

As they venture to the mysterious Shrouded Isles to find the priceless treasure, their shared nemesis closes in. However, his wrath is nothing compared to the realization that achieving their goal may mean losing something they never expected to find—each other.


Not Your Kid’s Neverland · Two Words: Strip Dice · But Why Is the Rum Gone?


Content/Trigger Warnings:

Shown on Page:

  • Drinking
  • Drug use (Pixie Dust)
  • Nudity
  • Sex
  • Mild Violence
  • Adult Language
  • Sea Sickness/Nausea
  • Brief Ableism
  • Dismemberment (Hook losing his hand – in a brief flashback)
  • Kidnapping of an adult

Alluded to:

  •  Death of a parent
  • Child malnutrition

Author Interview:

1. Tell us a little about how this story first came to be.
Second Star to the Left is a retelling of Peter Pan from the perspectives of Tinker Bell and Captain Hook. It’s an enemies-to-lovers romantic adventure fantasy that explores the dynamic between these two characters and how things might have turned out very differently from the Neverland we know. If it were to fit within the canon timeline of the original, it would be considered a prequel since it takes place before the Darling children arrive.

The idea for this story literally popped into my head randomly one day while I was playing with my (then infant) son. The initial spark was this: What if Captain Hook had a curse placed on him that made the seas his enemy, and the one responsible was Tinker Bell, a pixie notorious for selling the hottest drug in Neverland—pixie dust.

Yeah, seriously, I have no idea where my mind came up with that, but one minute it just appeared. The concept captivated me so thoroughly that I had to explore it. Questions came next: Why was Tinker Bell selling pixie dust? Why curse Captain Hook? What led them to become enemies? What was he willing to do to free himself of the curse?

Those questions and many, many others led me to learn so much about these characters and this world, and before I knew it, the plot of the story had basically written itself.

2. What, if anything, did you learn when writing the book?
One of the biggest things I researched for this book was ship design and functionality. Someone once told me that one key to making fantasy shine is to get the non-fantastical details right, and that’s so true. Quite a few scenes take place at sea, and there’s more than one ship battle. While I’m by no means an expert, I still wanted to make sure I knew enough to make those scenes realistic, plausible, and immersive.

3. What surprised you the most in writing it?
Some of the twists. I know, that sounds weird since I wrote the book, but as a writer, I feel like it’s the characters who tell the story, and I’m just the one getting it down on paper. Some things I see in advance, but there was at least one big twist in this story that I didn’t know until the character found out, and oh wow, did it surprise us both!

4. If it’s not a spoiler, what does the title mean?
The title is a play off the line “second star to the right,” and also happens to be part of the directions that Hook and Tink must follow to find a priceless treasure within the novel. Honestly, the title was very difficult for me to come up with. I’d already finished the book by the time I came up with it. Second Star to the Left immediately brings the original tale to mind, which I wanted, but also being that it’s ‘left’ and not ‘right’ gives a hint that this will be different than the Neverland most people know.

5. Were any of the characters inspired by real people? If so, do they know?
Yes, the main villain of the story, Captain Blackbeard, is inspired in name and appearance by the historical figure. Hook has a connection with Blackbeard according to J. M. Barrie, author of the original Peter Pan, so it felt appropriate that he should appear in this tale as well.

Additionally, one of Captain Hook’s crewmembers, Anne, is a nod to the historical figure of Anne Bonny. They share a name and appearance, but the Anne in SSTTL has a much different personality than that of the historical figure.

6. Do you consider the book to have a lesson or moral?
Family is a central theme that comes up in pretty much every story I write, and that includes all kinds of families: ones people are born into, found/chosen family, healthy and loving families, toxic families, etc. Family has always been a central component of my own life, which is probably why it inevitably leaks into my work. I was lucky to grow up in a good, loving family (though not without its flaws), but I’m also a strong believer in the families we find and build around ourselves, which often have very little or nothing to do with blood. Second Star to the Left explores this in a lot of ways, as it’s a key thing that both Tink and Hook are struggling with, even if they don’t quite admit that at the beginning. That idea of home and family is the foundation on which the story rests and is something that takes on new and changing meaning for the characters as they grow through the events that they are faced with.

7. What is your favorite part of the book?
Oh gosh, that’s like asking me to pick my favorite child, lol! One that I think about often though, is a scene that takes place in the first half of the novel at the merfolk’s isle. Hook and Tink share a vulnerable moment at a hot spring. It’s tender, sexy, and emotional, but has some funny moments too. Plus, it’s a pivotal scene that shifts the dynamic between them.

A smaller, random moment I really love is when Smee (somewhat accidentally) reveals who, or rather what, the Jolly Roger is named after. It was not a moment I planned, but rather something the character revealed to me (and others) out of the blue when I was writing a particular scene. It cracked me up then and still makes me giggle thinking about it.

8. Which character was most challenging to create? Why?
None of the characters were overly challenging in this story, but I’d say it was Tink who took me the longest to truly get to know. Hook was immediately very open and willing to share his story with me, so it was actually some of his chapters that I wrote first. Tink, though, took a while longer. I struggled over the first few chapters I wrote from her point of view, but thank goodness she finally opened up and really let me in. Once she did, the book started to flow really well.

9. What are your immediate future plans?
I have more books completed and coming soon, and I’m writing even more that I hope to release in the future. Up next in the Reimagined Fairy Tale series is The Ugly Stepsister, a mash-up of Cinderella and Snow White that sees Anna, the ugly stepsister, teaming up with Will, a former royal huntsman, to take down the wicked queen (aka Cinderella). It will release from City Owl Press in Fall 2022. I also have a completely different adult fantasy series launching this summer, the first of which is titled A Bargain with the Fae King, and releases on May 3, 2022.


Giveaway:

Starts: February 14th, 2022 at 12:00am EST
Ends: February 20, 2022 at 11:59pm EST

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct link


Author Bio & Information:

Megan Van Dyke is a fantasy romance author with a love for all things that include magic and kissing, especially fairytales and anything with a happily ever after. Many of her stories include themes of family (whether born into or found) and a sense of home and belonging, which are important aspects of her life as well. When not writing, Megan loves to cook, play video games, explore the great outdoors, and spend time with her family. A southerner by birth and at heart, Megan currently lives with her family in Colorado.

Megan Van Dyke author headshot

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Bluebird At My Window + Giveaway

BLUEBIRD AT MY WINDOW

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the BLUEBIRD AT MY WINDOW by H. Noah Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

 

Title: BLUEBIRD AT MY WINDOW

Author: H. Noah

Pub. Date: February 15, 2022

Publisher: H. Noah

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 394

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, B&N, TBD, Bookshop.org

 

When faced with trauma, how would you react?

Would you survive, succumb, or lose yourself to your own meaning of justice?

Ann was only seventeen when she died. She tried to be a dutiful daughter, to pray, to repent. But it wasn’t enough. Her mother, Diane, didn’t mean to kill her but when she found Ann consorting with devils, she had no choice. She believed the angels—that in the end, the water would save them both.

But every choice holds weight. One death, and Arthur is thrown back into the work he wanted to leave. One death, and Richard must face the reality of his choices. One death, and Maddie and Marie are confronted with the hardest parts of love. If only good intentions were enough to keep them from the carnage of their own decisions . . .

A dark contemporary fiction drenched in blood, this debut novel from H. Noah has an intricate true crime feeling with psychological depth.

Content Warning

The following book centers around processing trauma. Please be aware that it will touch upon such topics as violence, sexual assault (not overly descriptive), racism, microaggressions, misogyny, incest, and homophobia. This book also focuses on mental health and will cover depression, anxiety, PTSD, suicidal ideation, hearing voices, religious fixations, delusions, self-harm, and drug abuse.

This book is dark due to the topics covered. This is not a horror or thriller meant to scare you. Please be kind to yourself and put the book back if you are not in a good place to read any of the things mentioned above.


 Excerpt:

Chapter 1
Portland, Maine
Friday, October 14, 2016
Diane Loucks

The water swelled like a second skin around her fingers. Thick flesh-colored tendrils, clinging to the newly pure.
Light scattered through the small window, burning white hot across the chipped tile, curled wallpaper, and filth. Everything within this small house on a hill still festered with the sin of her—my daughter.
She’d fought me as she always had. Her arm draped over the side of the old claw tub, almost at ease, even bent back at an odd angle. I’d forgotten to turn off the water completely, but I couldn’t get up. I was fixed against the ground, watching as the water gathered and fell from her pale fingertips. No more rush, no more panic. Each drop reached slowly to the floor, hitting the tile with a soft pink splash.
It was done.
My naked flesh numbed to the bitter tile as I lay at the tub’s feet. Each fold of skin stretched, suctioning to the floor, holding me in place. Something had gone wrong in the blessing. I’d stripped myself in preparation but she’d refused, made me pull clothing to ribbons as I blessed the water.
When she didn’t wake up, I’d called the preacher. Tried to understand what had happened, why the angels had lied.
But he was useless.
That’s when I slid to the floor, streaking the wall behind me with her blood. Ichor that still clung to my skin and the floor beneath.
Fraud. Liar.
You did the right thing.
It should have worked.
It did.
Pure!
Why didn’t it work?
She’s clean now. The preacher was unholy.
Why hasn’t she risen?
You were the unclean one.

The scream ripped from within me. I wanted quiet, needed it. I scratched my ears, ripping my body from the tile.
The pain worked, but not well enough.
I slammed knuckles into my skull.
Not enough.
Thump.
Thump.
Thump.
My skull reverberated against the hard ceramic. The sharp ache purified, but didn’t silence. So I kept crashing into it as skin split across my forehead, turning my vision burgundy. It gave me something to focus on, to control.
The demons didn’t like that.
I could hear them in the walls, closing around me. Devils playing tricks as they reached from beneath the wallpaper, touching. I thrashed against them all, gouging holes into the small space. Drywall fingers ripped through flesh as my blood seeped and spilled to the floor, covering hers. The air was suffocating, poisoned, thick, and sandy.
They wanted to silence me.
But still I screamed.
They wanted me quiet, malleable to their will.
Everyone did.
I wanted to fracture the foundation.


About H. Noah:

They’ve been a massage therapist, social worker, poet, teacher, and more. Picking up a B.A. in Criminology and an M.S. in I-O Psychology. They’ve also lived in Alaska, Maine and many places in-between. They are currently still trying to find a forever place as they travel the US.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | TikTok | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub


Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card, International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Schedule:

Week One:

2/7/2022

Rockstar Book Tours

Kickoff Post

2/7/2022

@jaimerockstarbooktours

IG Post

2/8/2022

Mythical Books

Guest Post/IG Post

2/8/2022

Writer of Wrongs

Excerpt

2/9/2022

The Momma Spot

Excerpt

2/9/2022

BookHounds YA

Guest Post

2/10/2022

Daily Waffle

Excerpt/IG Post

2/10/2022

Rajiv’s Reviews

Review

2/11/2022

The Girl Who Reads

Review

2/11/2022

Jazzy Book Reviews

Review

Week Two:

2/14/2022

Take A Look At My Bookshelf

Review

2/14/2022

#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog

Review

2/15/2022

Adrienne Woods

Excerpt /IG Post

2/15/2022

Karen Dee’s Book Reviews

IG Spotlight

2/16/2022

Sadie’s Spotlight

Excerpt/IG Post

2/16/2022

@coffeesipsandreads

Review

2/17/2022

Two Points of Interest

Review

2/17/2022

Two Chicks on Books

Excerpt

2/18/2022

Momfluenster

Review

2/18/2022

Dr Roha Tahir

Spotlight

 

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