Published by Griffyn Ink on August 13, 2019
Genres: Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy
Buy on Amazon//Barnes & Noble
Hollywood has-been hunk finds a talented illustrator to write him into the perfect life he didn’t have. Life doesn’t give you do-overs, neither does the afterlife.
Believe in love after life.
Medical illustrator Gillian Denver has a unique talent, and it’s not her ability to depict the systems of the body accurately and artistically. She can talk to spirits, only she doesn’t realize it.
Peter Keith, a one-time TV sitcom star whose career dissolved from A-lister hunk, to out of shape, straight-to-cable-movie D-lister has a problem. Peter regrets decisions he made in his life, and would like a do-over. He convinces Gillian to help him. One little problem, Peter is dead.
Thinking it’s her over active imagination causing her reoccurring dreams about Peter to spill into daylight hours, Gillian finds herself talking to him while she works. Together they begin to recreate Peter’s life by writing a book the way he wishes things had worked out. Gillian is not fully convinced that Peter is anything more than something she made up, a glorified imaginary friend, a new muse.
Gillian’s feelings for Peter complicate her relationships with the living. She is afraid the love she has for Peter will never be enough because she cannot give him what he really needs, a resolution to the life he wasn’t ready to leave.
My Review of Dead Sexy
To be honest, I have never read a paranormal romance that involved the hero being a ghost, so the premise of the story was particularly new to me. Thankfully, I love being pleasantly surprised and definitely enjoy reading novels that are out of the “norm” for me. Dead Sexy opened my eyes to the fact that not only do I find werewolves, vampires, fae, and any other mystical beings thrilling, but apparently, I find ghosts to be just as exciting! Even if the ghost is a one-time sitcom star whose failed career ended up with him slipping away into the afterlife…
In steps Gillian Denver, a medical illustrator with a self-proclaimed over active imagination. Gillian is spunky, curious, and amusing. If I were in her shoes, I would also struggle with the idea that the man I’m seeing in my dreams and during the daylight hours is anything but real. But hey, if they looked like Peter, and did the things Peter did in her dreams; well…I wouldn’t complain too much. Peter’s character developed beautifully throughout the story. We saw a man who fell from his lofty position, lost his aspirations, succumbed to his depression (the first novel I read where the hero actually perished from an opioid overdose), and then began putting the pieces of his life back together in the afterlife with help from Gillian.
Without mentioning any spoilers- despite the somber outlook for their burgeoning relationship (I’m sure you’re wondering how this relationship is able to progress with one of the main characters being dead), the story DOES have a happily ever after- oh! And a ghost cat. I will definitely be reading the next book in this series by Lulu!
Dead Sexy was fun, creative, intense, and surprising! A MUST read! Four stars!
Interview with Author LuLu Sylvian
Hi Lulu and thanks for taking the time to do this interview with me! Let’s jump right into it.
Awesome! (rubs hands together like a maniacal mad scientist). I’m excited to answer your questions!
There are so many factors involved that make it look like I’m a faster writer than I really am.Dead Sexy was already written and waiting in the wings when I sat down with my publisher last summer to discuss what I wanted to release this year. I have a bit of a back catalog waiting for the right time to be published.Wolves of Wet Waterfalls got in my head and got very noisy, so I had to get it out of my head, just so I could focus on other things. After that happened we noticed a gap between releases in the spring, and decided to push Wolves through.I’m already working on next year’s releases and working toward my goal of writing a full year ahead of schedule.Being organized is a big factor. Noisy characters that demand my time is another factor—I’m definitely one of those writers who transcribes the antics of some of my characters. Also, scheduling writing time is huge. Butt in chair, words on paper (or keyboard) are the only way it’s going to happen. Writing (word count) challenges and writing sprints help to keep me motivated.
Dead Sexy is about a woman (Gillian) who doesn’t fully realize she can talk to ghosts, so when the ghost of a recently dead celebrity befriends her, she’s not fully convinced he is anything other than her overactive imagination.Peter Keith was another victim of an opioid overdose. He had been a hot commodity as a late teen/young adult in Hollywood, but he never was able to maintain that constant level of popularity. At the time of his death, his career had been a series of straight-to-cable mock-buster monster movies and he felt he had let his fans down. He did not feel appreciated.Together they decide to collaborate on a retelling of Peter’s life, creating in fiction, the life he wished he’d had. Things get complicated when Gillian falls for him. And it turns out Peter can manipulate the dream plain, so things get interesting.In the end (I promise no spoilers) Gillian finds her own voice, and her talents surpass what she had ever expected. And there is a fun surprise at the end. Of course, as a romance, it definitely has a Happily Ever After.
How did the idea of Dead Sexy form?
Is it fair to say I’m not even sure anymore? I think it all started with a dream and my own overactive imagination. At some point, Gil moved into my head. I do know I was writing this in the late spring because my kids had planted a salsa garden and we were eating a lot of homemade salsa, and hummus. So those foods definitely made it into the story.
In Dead Sexy, the paranormal factor doesn’t come from vampires, fur-covered beasts, or demons, but ghosts. Why ghosts? Are you spiritual in any way?
Yeah, Peter is a ghost. That was how the character and the story formed. It’s not in a magical world, it takes place in the here and now. How do we know that the people talking to us in dreams really aren’t ghosts? That’s probably where some of the basis for the story came from, asking those kinds of questions.Am I spiritual? This question could go all kinds of directions. I’m going to take it to mean if I believe in ghosts. There are all kinds of things we cannot explain. I believe there is some form of residual energy that some people/animals leave behind. In Dead Sexy Gil has a ghost cat. I know lots of people who have ghost cats or have seen ghost cats. So why not things bigger than cats?
I love reading paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. I always thought of myself as a vampire fan (that’s going back to Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire, and The Vampire Lestat). An opportunity to join a paranormal book club came up and I was all in. I wasn’t writing back then, I hadn’t even thought about writing at that point. But I loved the stories, the preternatural powers, the psychic connections, all of that. I discovered that I’m more of a werewolf girl. When I started writing it seemed natural that’s were my ideas would gravitate. I’ve written a few contemporary stories, but thematically I’m drawn towards shifters and other powers.
Different books get different soundtracks. I wrote a burlesque holiday story, Unwrapped, and the soundtrack for that was all KPop, lots of Black Pink and BTS. The funny thing was when I started writing it, I wanted to listen to the music the dancers were performing to. Small problem, the second I put on Lady Marmalade, or Whatever Lola Wants, the story just stopped. It was as if the characters were all, “Yeah yeah yeah, we get it, we know that music, now give us something fun.” It took some trial and error before I landed on a KPop playlist, but as soon as I did, the story just flowed.Wolves of Wet Waterfalls happened with a lot of the Latin Workout station on Pandora, and a lot of KPop (also a Pandora station).
This question is my nemesis! I think of myself as being perfectly normal, and therefore nothing is particularly interesting. But that’s because I live in my brain all day. I love finding these things out about other people because I don’t live in their brains. So, being aware that you all aren’t in my head, things that might be interesting…I can wiggle my ears. Okay, that might just be weird… I went to art school in Oakland and San Francisco (split campus), my first career was in Graphic Design and I’ve won design awards.I cannot hula hoop. I’ve tried, I’ve taken classes. I think the only work out I got from a 6-week hula hoop class was laughing constantly for 45 minutes and having to bend over and pick up the hula hoop every 5 seconds during class. I would love to be able to hula hoop, it looks like so much fun. I really want one of those LED multi-colored hoops, but won’t allow myself to get one until I can successfully hoop.I don’t drink coffee, and Chupa Chups are the best lollipops ever.
I’m definitely a fan of some of the big ones: Sherrilyn Kenyon, Laurell K Hamilton, Kerrelin Sparks, Molly Harper, Patricia Briggs… the list could go on and on.
I’m working on next year’s releases. Currently, I’m writing Fallen Star, which will be the third book in the Second Endings series. Book one is Dead Sexy, book two is Bright Phantoms (releases in October), Fallen Star is three (January 2020), and there is a fourth one planned as well. The books are loosely related, so Gil and Peter make an appearance in the second book, but it’s not their story. You meet the hero for Bright Phantoms in Dead Sexy. All four books deal with ghosts, possession, or reincarnation in one form or another.After Fallen Star I go back to my shifter world for the Legatum/Legacy series. Redemption will be the sixth book for that series, and it’s all vampires and wolf-shifters with a heavy dose of suspense.
The job and kid situations were removed from the equation, and that’s how I actually started writing.I never thought I would be a writer until the stories in my head demanded to get out. For several years I started getting these ideas and movies in my head. I was not a writer, I had no idea that I was going to be a writer, but I didn’t know what to do with these characters and situations.I had to write a massive thesis-type paper, and (at the time I thought it was huge, turns out it was only about 15,000 words) I thought if I can do that maybe I can write a book. But not much happened. Fast forward five or six years and one summer my day job (which is seasonal) didn’t need me, and I was at loose ends. I had time, my kids were away traveling with their grandparents, so I decided to see if it was possible for me to dump one of these ideas I had onto paper. I gave myself a month to see what happened.I had always thought that getting a story out would be hard. All those words, all that plot. I discovered if I had the pictures/movies in my head, all I needed to do was write it down. This does not mean that I crafted a good story, it means I managed to write a complete novel-length manuscript in six weeks.That year I did NaNoWriMo in November and banged out most of another full-length book (NaNo is a huge self-challenge to write 50,000 words in a month. I needed 1667 words a day—I could do that.) With NaNo I found connections and information, and learned about getting something called a Beta reader (they sort of test-run your story for you). Eventually, someone told me about Romance Writers of America, and I joined my local chapter.I started taking writer-craft workshops, and actually learning about how to craft a story. I took a series of creative writing classes online. I wrote more books, and I learned what I needed to go back and clean up on the books I had already written.My focus shifted from other hobbies to writing. As I learned about becoming a writer I started sending out queries, and approaching publication from a more traditional standpoint. The more I learned about self-publishing, I decided I would still try for the traditional route, but I would also start self-publishing. Being a “hybrid” author was the game plan.Then one day one of my published RWA friends asked if she could read one of my stories. I was definitely intimidated, so I made sure to give her the one manuscript I had cleaned up the most—at this point in time, I was just dumping the stories out of my head and onto the computer, not really bothering with editing or revising, just trying to get the ideas out of my brain as fast as I could.The next thing I know she’s telling me her publisher is going to call me! Yikes. Apparently, she liked it enough to share with her publisher. Something I never would have asked. (I’m still awed by the course of events that ended up with me being published.) A few conversations later, and I had a publishing contract with a small press.They released my first book, a collection of male stripper short stories, The Twelve Strippers of Christmas six months later.
My best advice is to write. Butt in chair, words on paper or keyboard (plenty of folks do their first draft longhand). The point is: write. And keep writing. Do not stop to refine and revise, and edit. Get the full story out before you go back over it.Someone somewhere said you can’t edit words that aren’t written. So write first, edit later. Find a group of other writers to learn from and network with. Keep on writing. When you learn something new, you can go back and apply it to that complete story to make it better.Schedule time to write, treat it like a part-time job. Get into the habit of writing even when inspiration hasn’t struck. Take some classes, discover if you are a plotter or a pantser. Commit to NaNo. Commit to yourself, but be realistic about it. If 50,000 words in a month are too much, can you do 30,000? Can you do 15,000?If you want to be a writer, you have to write.
Thank you! These were great questions and a lot of fun to think about the answers.