Friday, April 25, 2014

Liza interviews Love & Vengeance by Gina Danna

Today, we are interviewing the book Love & Vengeance by Gina Danna.

Peep Rep: I know. I hired a chariot to bring it here.

Liza: Thank, God. I feared you intended to use the catapult.

Peep Rep: I can't find the catapult. I think it got misfiled under puppies or something.

Liza: How could you lose the catapult. It's huge!

Peep Rep: I know, but it's missing all the same.

Liza: No matter. A chariot is a much better way to send a book. 

Peep Rep: Here it comes now...

Liza: Where's the horse?

Peep Rep: Turns out the book has no hands to hold the reins, so I had a slave walk behind, pushing the handle. He's probably very hungry and thirsty. 

Liza: I don't see a man behind the chariot.

Peep Rep: I guess he ran away. Probably thought since we didn't have slaves, he could declare himself a free man.

Liza: I'm sorry to say a great many people are still held as slaves, but I wish him well. Now let's bring the book in.

Liza: Oh, you're a handsome cover. What should I call you, Love or Veng.

Book: Call me V. 

Liza: Oh I like that. Low probability of misspelling one letter.

Peep Rep: She can't type worth Lion dung.

Liza: I must say you've acclimated well, so let's start the interview. Tell me about the world you just left.

V: The place is Rome. The time 108 A.D. Our ruler is Emperor Trajan. Rome is the center of the civilized world. It is a time of sophistication and decadence, a brutal world to their conquered.

Liza: We may be way in the future, but thanks to movies and books, we know that.

Peep Rep: Some of the movies are X-rated.

V: Then they could be accurate.

Liza: So tell us about your people.

V: Marcus is a Roman citizen sentenced to die as a gladiator.

Liza: Why?

V: He is accused by his wife and brother for a crime he did not commit. 

Liza: So is this a short story?  Because most slaves die very quickly.

V: True. Yet death eludes him and he rises to become champion of the sands.

Liza: Well done, Marcus. Is he happy about his success?

V: No. It is a title he does not want. 

Liza: What does he want?

V: Revenge against his wife and brother. 

Liza: I don't blame him, but a life of killing other gladiators and slaves has to be very bleak indeed. I see him kissing a young woman on your cover. Can we discuss that part of his life please.

V: The Colosseum bestows monetary rewards which he uses to save a beautiful slave, Gustina, from certain death by the beasts.

Liza: Excellent. And what does she give him in return for saving her life?

V: A priceless gift. A taste of love in a world full of lies, betrayal and murder.

Liza: He sounds like he needs love.

V: True, but his overwhelming desire for vengeance, for blood and the kill, brings a higher price tag – can he satisfy the demon inside him and face the truth? A truth that will kill the woman he loves?

Liza: Why are you asking me? I haven't read the book!

V: You haven't?

Liza: No.

V: My apologies. I understood most people read the book before they interview the author.

Liza: In fact most TV interviewers have an unpaid intern read it and give them notes, but you are the book not the author. 

V: We become one during the writing process. 

Liza: That's exactly why I am interviewing you- as the expert.

V: I understand, but I believe an interview would go better if you read me first.

Liza: Then there would be no reason to talk to you at all. I could simply write a review!

V: Excellent point. May I offer you a peek beneath my cover to distract you from your anger?

Liza: Yes, please.


V: Rome 108 CE

Liza: We already know that.

V: You are most difficult. First, you don't want questions about what you don't know, and now you don't want statements about what you do know.

Liza: *growls* Would you get to the story!

V: This seems an appropriate section:

A menacing growl followed by an earth-shattering scream bellowed above the rafters. The roar of the crowd snapped her out of the numbness. The applause echoed through the chambers as particles of sand rained through the wood slats in the ceiling.

            She was filthy, covered in sweat, blood and grime. What damage could more dirt do? Toes on the dirt floor wiggled as she stared at them. Her hair hung around her face like a curtain, matted with dried blood. Inadvertently, she lifted her hand to tuck one side behind her ear but jerked to a halt, restrained by the iron cuffs around her wrists, bound together with a chain. The same chain connected to the metal collar around her neck. How had she forgotten its weight resting so heavily on her shoulders?

            Another scream and the sound of flesh ripping, laughter and clapping became louder above. Fear snaked down her spine and she shuddered.

            Gustina sat on the stone ledge, chained with the other miscreants, waiting to be forced up the ramp to the carnage above. If she could just return to the numbness again, where nothing mattered any more. The place she’d escaped to before she’d heard the animals attacking the condemned out there. But she couldn't silence the roar of the crowds enjoying the executions as their noontime entertainment. Trembling, she pulled her sluggish legs up, wrapping her joined hands over them, and buried her face in her knees.
            In the hallway outside the chamber, Marcus stood, flexing his muscles, his arm extended with the metal disk in his hand. It equaled the weight of his sword—a weapon he would not have until it was his turn in the arena. Besides, there was no room in the corridor to swing it, to loosen his arms in preparations for the next fight.

            Christians and convicts. What a surly lot. But it was an easy way to feed the vast array of beasts the Empire kept to compete in the games. Did he ever feel sad for the poor souls about to perish by their claws? No. Nor did he mourn the loss of life at the end of his sword.

            He was one of the rare attractions people paid to see. He was gladiator. And he soon would be victor of all he opposed on the sands. Marcus' victories gave him the privileges and money he wanted—as long as it remained wine and women. But not his freedom. Not what he had lost to the Romans. No, the only way to gain that came by victory in the arena and in front of the Emperor. And to earn that opportunity, he’d kill whomever they placed before him.

            He closed his eyes as the screams filtered downward. His soul heard them and his body tingled with the smell of blood and dirt. Breathing in the welcoming atmosphere, he exhaled and opened his lids to look straight into the captives’ chamber.

            He found her. Sitting, hunched on the small ledge, draped in chains and metal bands, her head down. But when she looked up, through all the muck and grime, her pale blue eyes shone, sparkling and bright. Her unmarred face was a rarity among captives dragged to this place, usually after rough treatment. He noticed her high cheekbones, a small nose, narrow chin but ripe mouth. Her eyes locked on him and his mouth went dry. When her tongue licked her lips, his body tightened.

            He had to have her. Period. Regardless if she was a convict, runaway or Christian, he wanted her.

            A guard butted past him into the room and yanked the chain, pulling all the captives up. Many moaned, some pleaded. She didn't. She stood straight, pushing her shoulders back, waiting at the end of the line. Her eyes locked on his until the guard turned, chain in hand, to lead them out.

            Marcus stepped back. Instantly, his hand went to his stomach guard and pulled the narrow pick-knife out of its hidden sheath. As the captives stumbled past him, he extended his foot, causing her to trip. She fell into his grasp. His free hand placed the knife into the lock and twisted it open. His hand covered it to deaden the noise as his other arm encircled her tiny waist and pulled her against him.

            "Not a sound," he whispered. He shoved her to the wall, his massive body hiding hers as he flexed his limbs. The guard stopped at the sound of the loose chain but didn't look far when he saw the gladiator's well-muscled body. Marcus glanced at him over his shoulder and gave the man a nod. His status as a victorious gladiator allowed some privilege. The guard shrugged and moved on. The frightened woman gasped for air and shook with fear.

            Quickly he lifted her. She was light, seemingly lighter than his sword, but he knew that couldn’t be. In a swift move, he turned. Next to the doorway was a covered alcove. He dropped her in it.

            "You'll be safe here." He looked her over. Her wide eyes, full of fear and mistrust, returned his gaze but she said nothing. He heard the gong of his master calling him, reminding him he fought next, after the final execution. "Remain here. I will be back for you." He touched her cheek, his bulky hand swallowing half her face. Her skin was soft, like silk. Back in the days when he wore silk... He banked the anger. With a final nod to her, he left. He knew she'd be there when he returned.

To leave meant death.

Liza: Oh, that was very good. You are forgiven for asking me questions.

V: I didn't ask for forgiveness.

Peep Rep: I found the buy links:

Peep Rep: I also located the slave, gave him an update about slavery in the 22nd century and he's willing to take V home.

V: I am more than ready.

Liza: Hold on. You have to tell me about your author.

V: You don't know about my author? You have to be the worst interviewer in the world!

Peep Rep: No, there are worse.

Liza: Actually I know a great deal about Gina.

V: Like what? 

Liza: Well, she was born in St. Louis, Missouri, which must be very a dull place since she spent all her time reading about history. 

V: Nonsense. History is her love and she's earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in field. She writes academic research papers for museum programs and events. And thankfully, she finally found the time to write great stories such as myself.

Liza: What else do you know about her?

V: Under the supervision of her three dogs and three cats, she writes amid a library of research books.

Liza: Sounds like a dusty, cluttered mess to me. What else does she do?

V: Her only true break away is the time she spends with her Arabian horse – with him, her muse can play.

Liza: I am most impressed. You know your author well. Let us fist to book bump and make up. Despite your question, I have enjoyed our sparring immensely and look forward to actually reading the book.

V: Then my work here is done. Slave, you may return me to Rome, 108 CE.

Liza: *Waves goodbye*  That was fun. Can't wait to read the book.

Stalking Links:


  1. Thank you! I think V did admirable, considering :) Your peep always has me laughing! Gratitude - multiplied :)

    1. Peep doesn't have me always smiling. He's very troublesome.

  2. Gina It sounds fantastic! Your cover is gorgeous

    1. Thank you :) I hoped for one that gave Rome its grand look, a mix of power, raw and refined, and sensual...

  3. Replies
    1. Our blogs were really different, don't you think?

  4. The cover is very pretty and the book sounds wonderful! All the best...

  5. great interview, L &V! Loved this story. Marcus is awesome.

    1. He sounds awesome. Glad I won't be disappointed because I'm definitely reading this since V and I left on good terms.


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