October Releases

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Interview + Review + $50 Amazon GC Giveaway: The Mark of Abel (The Mark of Abel #1) by Viola Ryan

Tour schedule here: Viola Ryan

OBVB: Welcome to Offbeat Vagabond, Viola! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
VR: I write full time. I’m a mother of two daughters (16 and 12). I’ve been married almost 19 years. My husband is a Chief Marine Safety Technician in the US Coast Guard, so we move around a lot. We’ve lived from Kittery, Maine to Yorktown, Virginia.  Fortunately all our moves have been on the East Coast. Then again, the Coast Guard tends to guard the coast. I’m bipolar and have learned how to use my moods when it comes to writing. When I’m manic, anything I write will be disjointed, but I’m big idea girl. I do a lot of mind maps and figure out plots then. When I’m depressed, things slow down and I’m hypercritical. I can’t write because I have trouble remembering words, but I’m a great editor.

OBVB: When did you catch the writer bug?
VR: Like most writers, I wrote a lot as a teen. Then life intruded. I didn’t start up again seriously until I started writing Buffy/Angel fanfiction in 2003. I stayed home to raise my children. I made a deal with Hubby. After the kids went to school full time, I’d get a full year off to do whatever I wanted. Then I’d go back to school or get a job. In 2006 my youngest started 1/2 day Kindergarten. I started thinking about what I was going to do with my year off. I decided to give writing a try. I was instantly hooked. I kept writing. When my year was up, I offered to get a job. My husband said the most romantic thing. “You have a job. You’re a writer.”

OBVB: What first attracted you Paranormal Romance?
VR: I can’t write a story without a vampire, elf or faerie showing up. I’ve tried. I love creating my own universes with my own set of logic. I love romance because I want that guaranteed Happy Ever After or at least Happily for Now ending. I have been known to throw books across the room because of how they end. I can’t do that to my ereader.

OBVB: Who were your influences growing up? Any current favorites?
VR: When I met Tinkerbell at Disney World I told her, “I’m going to tell you something you’ve never heard before.” She got all excited. I told her, “I’m a writer because of you.” She responded, “You’re right. I’ve never heard that before.” Peter Pan and Wizard of Oz are why I write fantasy/paranormal. People like Marion Zimmer Bradley and Neil Gaiman are why I write mythic fiction. My biggest influence is Joss Whedon. For paranormal romance, there are tons of favorites--Kelley Armstrong, Patty Briggs,  Angie Fox, Rachel Vincent, Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter, Adrian Phoenix, Nalini Singh, Rebecca Zanetti, and Charlaine Harris (off the top of my head)

OBVB: The Mark of Abel is your first novel, right? Can you tell us what the book is about and how did you celebrate when your were done?
VR: It is a reimagining of the Judeo-Christian stories many of us grew up with to combine the paranormal with the Bible. In it Lucifer struggles to determine what’s more important--redemption or his heart. He is the first vampire. Lilith is his mistress of hell and the mother of his twins. Mary Magdalene is his best friend. Celebrating usually involves going to a restaurant of some sort and then getting shot cakes. These are gourmet cupcakes with ice cream in them. I “finished” this book several times. I consider it my fifth book, it went through so many massive overhauls.

OBVB: What was the most challenging thing you had to face when publishing The Mark of Abel?
VR: The paranormal market is pretty crowded. Everyone (agents and editors) liked the originality of the premise, but it is getting harder and harder to break out new authors. Thanks to smaller publishers like MuseItUp, I got my chance.

OBVB: I absolutely love your take on Lucifer's fall from Heaven, where did the idea come from to put your own spin on things?
VR: The original scene that inspired the book was a vampire who bit the woman he loved so he could turn her into a vampire, giving her the greatest gift he knew. She didn’t understand, was abhorred and rejected him. The original title was Rejection: A Vampire’s Tale. The biggest rejection in stories is Lucifer’s expulsion from Heaven, so he decided he wanted to be the hero.  Shaping him into a  romantic hero the reader could root for was a lot of fun.

OBVB: Did you use any muses for the characters in your book?
VR: I need to actually see the characters to describe them. I relied on characters from shows by Joss Whedon. Actors are great because you can get pics of many different moods. For current projects, I  make character collages.

OBVB: Who was the most interesting to write and why?
VR: Maggie and Lucifer’s daughter, Dana. I adore them. Both will feature heavily in future books. Maggie is sensual and classy. I modeled her after Inara from Firefly/Serenity, played by the  amazing Morena Bacarra.  Dana is one of the few characters who can really put Lucifer in his place. She came out of no where. I just wanted him to have kids to appease Lilith. I love what Dana brought out in him.

OBVB: If you could be any supernatural creature, what would it be and why?
VR: I’d love to be an angel. I want to fly. I’m terrified of heights. I don’t trust my own balance. I’m a real klutz. If I could fly, I  could see amazing views and not worry about falling.

OBVB: If you can write any book outside your genre, what would it be and why?
VR: I have an erotic fantasy that is dying to be written. Other than that, I’d want to be able to do historic fiction. It takes a lot of research to do well. I love doing research. I did a lot for The Mark of Abel to get the heroine’s past lives accurate. I didn’t want there to be shows debunking me like there was with The Da Vinci Code.

OBVB: Is there anything you must have or do when you are writing?
VR: I  must be chewing gum and it must still have flavor. I go through a 60 piece cup every week or so. When I’m in the zone, I turn off music. Otherwise, there is always music in my house and car.

OBVB: When you are not writing, what do you do in your free time?
VR: I like to paint. I made the heroine a painter so she wouldn’t be too much me. I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler. I  needed to take a class to write some of her scenes. I was just planning on learning the lingo and technique. Turns out I’m pretty good at landscape painting. There aren’t too many straight lines in nature.

OBVB: Last but not least, are there any other projects you are working on? Any updates on the sequel to The Mark of Abel?
VR: The sequel is The Chalice of Creation. Lucifer’s redemption isn’t finished. He must find and protect the Chalice of Creation from fallen angels/vampires or face humanity’ s destruction. I’m spending the next two months knocking it out. It should be out later this year.

OBVB: Thank you so much for visiting Offbeat Vagabond hon. Hope to have you here again.
VR: Thanks for having me. I look forward to returning.


About Viola Ryan
A very good friend of Viola Ryan in high school said, “You don’t think outside the box. You blow the thing up.” Sometimes boxes need exploding. That’s why she’s here. She has a whole bag of C4 and isn’t afraid to use it. She’s blessed with people who treasure her eccentricities or at least put up with them.

Sometimes the box can be a cozy place. Without some sort of stability, her two daughters’ and her life would be unmanageable. That stability comes from her husband. He’s the rock holding her family together.

On the flip side, his career is anything but stable. He’s a Chief Marine Safety Technician in the US Coast Guard. They’ve lived from Kittery, Maine to Yorktown, Virginia. Fortunately, the moves have all been on the east coast. Then again, the Coast Guard tends to guard the coast.

Her oldest daughter (16) was born on Cape Cod, not far from Plymouth. Massachusetts. Her youngest (12) was born in Yorktown, Virginia, down the road from Williamsburg. Viola jokes they’re doing the colonial America tour.

Follow Viola Ryan here:
Amazon  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Pinterest  |  Website 

Author: Viola Ryan
Series: The Mark of Abel
Number in Series: 1
Format: ePub
Release Date: December 21, 2012
Pages: 238
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Buy here:

Synopsis from Goodreads

Lucifer is fed up with humanity. He created hell to deter evil, but man’s inhumanity is only escalating. He just wants to return home to heaven, but ever since that little problem in the Garden of Eden, the Pearly Gates remain firmly shut to him. It doesn’t help that he’s the first vampire, an abomination in God’s sight.

Fortunately, two thousand years ago Lucifer’s estranged brother, Jesus, gave him a prophecy. To fulfill it, all Lucifer has to do is find the right artist, study her artwork and the path back to heaven will be revealed. The artist even bears a symbol so he knows who she is. Too bad she is murdered every time he finds her.

Janie’s a frustrated artist and college art teacher who wants two things—a guy she can show her paintings to and a night without nightmares. Each nightmare plagues her until she paints it. She doesn’t realize these paintings are key to unlocking her destiny, one that could redeem the original fallen angel.


      The Mark of Abel follows a man named Luke aka Lucifer. He is done with Earth and its humans. He wants to go back to Heaven to be with Eve. He knows that they are meant to be together. Problem is God has kicked him out after what he made Eve do and as punishment, turned him into the very first vampire. But Luke knows he can get back because his brother Jesus told him of a prophecy. He must find a special artist whose paintings will reveal the way back to Heaven. The artist, Janie, suffers from terrible nightmares. Her nightmares fuel her work. But she doesn't know that her nightmares mean so much more than she thinks and will get her killed.

      Well, this was quite a read. I absolutely loved Ryan's take on the Bible in this book. The world is complex and well put together. The interpretation is quite brilliant. I really liked our main character Janie. Well more halfway through the book really. She was a bit depressing in the beginning of the book. But I did understand given what her nightmares are and what happened to her parents. Even when she was with her wild and slightly unbalanced friend Cyndi. I liked her, she definitely brought a lot of laughs especially to Janie. Actually there was quite a bit of humor in this book. I really enjoyed that along with the story. But you do relate to Janie and I love how she turned out as well.

      I loved Luke in this book. It was a bit strange when we finally see him after he fell from Heaven. I wasn't sure whether he was a good guy or a bad guy. I know that is a bit weird to say given that he is Lucifer, but he isn't necessarily the Lucifer we know. I love that we get a backstory on him and again, I love how Ryan interpreted his story. I love the take on him and Lillith and their twins, Dan and Dana. I especially liked Dana, keep your eyes on her, she is obviously the better twin. But Luke was a great character to follow in this book. Such a smart move.

      The story was amazing. I loved the idea of how Lucifer is supposed to get back into Heaven. We also see why it hasn't happened yet. I love how the line between good and evil is not as black and white as you would think. There is so much happening that hinders Luke's progress...for nearly 2000 years. Every time he is on the artist tracks, she dies. That is why Luke must find Janie quickly before it is too late. I won't tell you why because it is quite the spoiler, but again, it is a brilliant idea. Ryan puts a lot of twists in this book. The story is quite unpredictable.

      I recommend this for anyone wanting a new take on Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy. I love the mixture of religion and paranormal. The story is well written and complex. The characters leave quite the impact and are very memorable. The only complaint I have is that there are quite a bit of characters in this book. It takes a while to really get them down and trying to see who is the good or bad guy. Then again, that could be the whole point considering who the bad guys are in this book. You definitely have to read this book. You won't be sorry.


*This book belongs to the following challenge*
Under The Covers Book Blog 2013 Immortal Reading Challenge!  



a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Great interview, thank you.


    1. You are welcome. Thank you for the comment :D

  2. Hi Diana and Viola,

    What a fun interview! This sounds like an awesome read and thank you for such generous giveaway.

    1. Hello Evie! I am so glad you guys like the interview. It is a great read. So unique. Thank you for the comment. Good luck :)

  3. Thanks for having me. I love getting to chat with fans and potential fans. I'll be sure to bring the sequel here.

    1. You are so welcome hon. Thank you for coming on board. I can't wait for the sequel. YAY! Thanks a million hon :)


Due to the daily spam comments I have been getting lately and to avoid the annoying word verification, Anonymous comments are no more. I do not want bargains on bags, watches, jerseys, boots and other crap. Geez, they could at least spam me with book and movie stuff, I would be somewhat interested LOL! Thank you :D