Shades Below Is Leaving #KU!

Into the great wide open!

L.J.K. Oliva | Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance

It’s announcement time!

Shades Below is leaving Kindle Unlimited!

For the first time, the Shades Below series will be available on iTunes, Nook, Kobo, and other ebook retailers! If you get your reading material from sites other than Amazon, now you’ll be able to find the Shades Below books at your online shop of choice.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, there’s still time to get your read on! Here are the official “exit dates” of the books in the series. Add them to your KU reading list while you can!

A World Apart (Shades Below, #1) – March 9, 2017 (passed)

Season Of The Witch (Shades Below, #1.5) – March 23, 2017

The Devil’s Disease (Shades Below, #2) – March 25, 2017

All future Shades Below novels will also be published wide, so keep an eye out for them wherever ebooks are sold (okay…most places where ebooks are sold).

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The Proust Questionnaire: As Answered By Asher Evans

L.J.K. Oliva | Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance

I was originally introduced to the Proust Questionnaire by my fellow Write Bitch Madhuri Blaylock in her interview series, Getting Proustian (you can find my interview on her blog). As an admitted nerd for self-reflection, I really enjoyed answering the questions. It also got me thinking.

Why not put some of my characters under the microscope?

Below is the Proust Questionnaire as answered by Asher Evans: survivor, vampire, and protégé of vampire Constable Seneca Lynch. Asher will be starring in the the upcoming Shades Below novel, If You Were My Vampire.

Now, without further ado…

The Proust Questionnaire: Asher Evans

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Perfect happiness? There’s a quaint thought.

2. What is your greatest fear?
Fear is a trap. It is the fearful who are the first to die.

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I lived.

4. What is the trait you most…

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Shades Below Got A Facelift!

L.J.K. Oliva | Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance

Happy New Year!

In honor of 2017, the Shades Below tribe got a makeover! Seriously though, I’m too obsessed with these new covers. Is that weird?



Feast your eyeballs on these pretties…


“There are things that go bump in the night, Mr. MacMillian. It’s my job to bump back.”

Private investigator Jesper MacMillian is sure he’s seen it all. Living in San Francisco, strange is what’s for breakfast. Then he meets psychic medium Lena Alan, and his definition of “strange” changes for good. Suddenly, MacMillian finds himself in a world where monsters aren’t just real, they’re hiding in plain sight. For Lena, a medium since childhood, it’s just another day at the office.

For MacMillian, it’s the beginning of the end of everything he thinks he knows.


Something wicked this way comes…well, more wicked than usual.

Georgia Clare needs help, and fast. As the lone survivor of her coven’s…

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May, 2016

Hey guys! It’s been a busy few months since my last update. Sorry I’ve been scarce- and here’s what I’ve been getting up to…

L.J.K. Oliva | Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance


Happy Spring, bitches!

Spring just isn’t spring if I can’t have a garden.

For the past couple years, one of the most immediate and painful casualties of the drought has been my spring/summer garden- selfish, I know, but there it is. This winter brought with it more rain than we’ve seen since my son was born, and with the slow, halting return of green things to the Bay Area, my gardening impulse has reared its head in full-force.

All this is to explain why I’ve been a little scarce around these parts.

Since publishing The Devil’s Disease at the end of March (you can find it here, by the way), I’ve spent nearly every spare hour either in the newly lush mountains or at my favorite local garden shop, admiring all the pretty plants and plotting, planning, and dreaming the perfect garden. With a little luck, a little persistence, and a…

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The Devil’s Disease, TEASER #2

The next Shades Below book is FINALLY almost here! Check out this excerpt, then sign up for my newsletter if you’re interested in an advanced Read-For-Review copy 🙂

L.J.K. Oliva | Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance


The Wayfare Hotel for Restless Spirits was every bit as spooky as he remembered.

MacMillian wedged his dark green Plymouth Fury into a spot alongside The Panhandle, and stared across the street at the vast old Victorian.  Was it him, or had it expanded since he’d last been here?  That was impossible, of course.  Even so, he could have sworn several of the turrets were new.

Lena waited until he had hoisted himself from the car, then started across the street.  MacMillian headed after her with a wince.  He should have known better than to sit for so long.  Now he was paying for it.  Lena glanced behind her.  He schooled his face to a neutral expression.  Judging by the way her eyebrows drew together, she wasn’t fooled.

She didn’t mention it, merely metered her steps to match his as though it were the most natural thing in the world. …

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COVER REVEAL: The Devil’s Disease (Shades Below, #2)

L.J.K. Oliva | Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance

It’s almost here, guys!

Today, I’m thrilled to introduce the next book in Shades Below: The Devil’s Disease.  Lena and MacMillian are together again…and things are about to get bloody.


In the city by the Bay, things are about to get bloody…

Psychic medium Lena Alan always sticks to what she knows, and what she knows are dead people. When her brother Cyrus agrees to look into a troubling incident for local vampire Seneca Lynch, Lena finds herself in unfamiliar territory.

One thing is clear: she needs a detective, and there’s only one she trusts.

Private investigator Jesper MacMillian is ready to get back to business. Between his duties as leader of the city’s Romani community and the stack of unfinished paperwork on his desk, he doesn’t have time to think about ghosts, witches, or Lena Alan. After nearly a month of no contact, he’s starting to think she’s forgotten about…

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Shades Below, #2: Update

News and updates on the writing front! If you were curious about the next book in my Shades Below series (and even if you weren’t), read this!

L.J.K. Oliva | Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance

Hey guys!

So, I’ve received a few messages recently inquiring about the next book in the Shades Below series.  If you’re out there and you’ve been waiting for The Devil’s Disease (Shades Below, #2), a couple things:

  1. OMG THANK YOU.  Seriously.  I’m so excited that you’re so excited for the return of Lena and MacMillian!  They miss you, too.  Swearsies.
  2. I am working on it, I PROMISE.  After an unexpectedly stressful holiday season during which I took a complete break from writing, I’m back at it!  Thoughts are being thunk.  Words are being made.  It’s beautiful.

When’s the release date, you ask?  That’s a bit tricky to nail down.  I’m not quite close enough to the end of the book that I’m comfortable setting an actual date, but tentatively speaking, I expect to be done with the writing by mid-late February.  This means you could have SB#2 in your hot little…

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Why I Write What I Write, #19: John Winston #WriteBitches

Happy New Year, bitches!

Our very first WIWWIW (I know, that acronym is nuts) post of 2016 belongs to John Darryl Winston. Thanks for contributing, John! It’s all yours…

♥ ♥ ♥


Why I write what I write.

So, I was a varsity boys’ basketball coach in Detroit a few years back. We were at an out-of-town tournament and were having a healthy lunch at Mickey Dees. I was all excited about the final installment (well, I thought it was the final installment) of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith coming out and expressed my giddiness to my guys to which one replied, “Don’t nobody wanna see that junk.” The rest of the team concurred, and I was devastated. After further inquiry, I realized that my guys had not seen any of the Sci-fi movies I had grown up on and were not the least bit interested in the genre, citing, “it wasn’t real.” Where was their imagination? I began to see this lack of imagination, not just on the court, but in their life goals and aspirations.


A few years later, when I became a teacher, I began to observe the books my students, students of color, were reading. The vast majority were about the streets, drugs, gangs, violence, and teen pregnancy, and this literature was celebrated as being “real” and “relatable” to kids growing up in the city. I took issue with this because I was one of those kids that grew up in the city and although I witnessed some of those things, my life was richer than that. I also knew that in order to rise higher, my imagination had to be even richer. So I write to that end. I write for the boys I used to coach and the ones that came after.

I write for Antonio Drew Van who told me “I had been hoping to find a “Harry Potter” type book and series where the main character is African American and I believe IA: Initiate fills that. Additionally, I look for “Super Hero” type books where the superhero is also African American. My grandson delights in these characters on TV with European features, white skin, and flowing blond hair who don’t look like them. I have to interrupt that.”

I write for Dianna Scowera, reviewer for Readers’ Favorite who said, “If today’s kids have a need for a superhero their own age, Winston has more than succeeded in supplying it with his IA series. I don’t think there are enough African American superheroes in the comic book world and Naz could surely take the lead to fill that large gap. I’ll wait for the day I’m at another comic con to see the kids running by my table dressed up like Naz and think of you ;)”

I write for the boys in my “boys read” program who say the books out there just don’t interest them. I write for the students I teach every day who need role models to aspire to. I write for all the people out there who say there aren’t enough people of color as protagonist in mainstream stories. But most of all I write for me because at one time or another, I have been all of those people.

♥ ♥ ♥


About John Winston

A Detroit native and public school educator, Winston created the coming of age hero’s journey as part of a creative writing and ‘Boys Read’ program. He is a graduate of The Recording Institute of Detroit, Wayne State University, The Motion Picture Institute of Michigan and is currently enrolled in the MFA Creative Writing program at Wilkes University. He has written songs with and for Grammy winner David Foster and record mogul Clive Davis. He has been a recording artist on Arista and Polygram records, and has written and/or produced songs for Gerald Levert, Gerald Alston, and many others. Winston currently lives with his daughter in Michigan.

Find him here:






♥ ♥ ♥

Want In On This?

Are you a writer?  Whether you’re just starting out or an old hat; unpublished, indie published, or traditionally published- we want to hear from you!

To participate in our guest series, simply write us a blog post that answers the question “Why I Write What I Write”. It can be as long or as short as you want- we’re playing it pretty fast and loose.

Please send your posts to, with “Why I Write What I Write” in the subject heading (please include any author links/pics you would like in the post). The posts will be scheduled as they come in, with one post going up each Monday, and we’ll all publicize the hell out of them on FB and Twitter.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

The Devil’s Disease (Shades Below, #2) – Excerpt


The Wayfare Hotel for Restless Spirits was every bit as spooky as he remembered.

MacMillian wedged his dark green Plymouth Fury into a spot alongside The Panhandle, and stared across the street at the vast old Victorian.  Was it him, or had it expanded since he’d last been here?  That was impossible, of course.  Even so, he could have sworn several of the turrets were new.

Lena waited until he had hoisted himself from the car, then started across the street.  MacMillian headed after her with a wince.  He should have known better than to sit for so long.  Now he was paying for it.  Lena glanced behind her.  He schooled his face to a neutral expression.  Judging by the way her eyebrows drew together, she wasn’t fooled.

She didn’t mention it, merely metered her steps to match his as though it were the most natural thing in the world.  They climbed the steep front steps together, crossed the stoop to the massive front door.

Lena turned to him.  “Before we go inside, there’s something you should know.”

MacMillian shifted his weight to his cane.  “All right.”

She twisted the strap of her purse.  “You’re going to meet someone.  He’s…not like anyone you’ve seen before.”

MacMillian snorted.  “Since I’ve known you, I’ve met ghosts, a necromancer, a zombie, a knight, and a librarian for God.  So unless you’re telling me vampires and werewolves are real too…”  He trailed off at the look on her face.  “They’re not.  Are they?”

Lena shifted.  “It’s a little more complicated than—”

He held up a hand.  “Please.  Yes or no.”

“Well, yes.”

MacMillian stared.

Lena continued hurriedly.  “But technically, lycanthropy is a disease.  Therians have complete control over their shifts, and are no danger to humans.  Anyway, that’s not what this is about.”

MacMillian felt light-headed.  “So, a vampire.”

At that moment, the door to the house swung inward.  MacMillian jerked his eyes from Lena’s face.  A tall, athletic-looking man with disheveled blond hair and a sardonic expression leaned against the door frame.

“I find ‘vampire’ rather a loaded word, don’t you?”  The man crossed his arms over his broad chest.  His black leather jacket creaked.  “I personally prefer the term ‘sangretarian.’”

MacMillian looked to Lena.

She cleared her throat.  “Jesper MacMillian, meet Seneca Lynch.”

MacMillian swallowed, then swallowed again.  Vampires were real.  He took a moment to wrap his head around that.  He’d grown up hearing about them; Babko and some of the other elders of the kumpania told stories all the time.  He’d thought that was all they were: stories.  Outdated superstition left over from the old country.

What else could he have been wrong about?

He took a deep breath and turned back to the stranger.  There didn’t seem to be anything overtly diabolical about him.  He was pale, but not unnaturally so.  A faint smattering of freckles dusted the skin under his sharp gray eyes.

Lynch took a step back.  “So this is your mundane detective.”  He jerked his chin at MacMillian’s cane.  “What’s the matter?  Couldn’t find one with all his parts in working order?”

MacMillian bristled.  Lena laid a hand on his arm, and he glanced down at her.  The scowl on her face surprised him.  She glowered at Lynch.  “Let’s get something straight.  Cyrus might not mind you being a dick, but I do.  You came to us, in case it’s slipped your mind.  If this is how you’re going to behave, you’re on your own.”

Lynch’s eyebrows went up.  He studied them without a word.  MacMillian didn’t move.  Lena still gripped his arm a little too tightly.  Any looser, and he would have missed the fact she was trembling.

Lynch pursed his lips.  Then he inclined his head.  “Well, then.  Please accept my sincere apologies, Mr. MacMillian.”

Something in his voice still rankled, but MacMillian put it out of his mind.  He hadn’t come here for Seneca Lynch, after all.  He gave Lena’s hand a brief, reassuring touch, waited until she let go before stepping over the threshold and into the reception hall.  “Lena mentioned Cyrus would fill me in.”

“Big brother Cyrus is currently packing for a trip.”  Lynch folded his hands in front of him.  “I’m afraid you’ll have to make do with me.”

“Trip?”  Lena’s forehead furrowed.  “He didn’t tell me about any trip.”

“It just came up.”

They all turned.  At the opposite end of the hall, Cyrus stood atop of the grand staircase.  He started down, a battered duffel slung over his shoulder.  He reached the bottom and strode across the marble floor, extended a hand and gripped MacMillian’s in a firm shake.  “Thanks for coming.  I know this probably screws up your social calendar.”

MacMillian shrugged.  “What’s the saying?  ‘Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night…’?”

Cyrus smirked.  “Something like that.”  He turned to Lena.  “Sorry I didn’t tell you sooner.  Emil just gave me a call.  He and Puzzle want me to meet them in New Orleans.”

Lena made a face.  “Bad time for a party weekend.”

Cyrus shrugged.  “All he said was they needed my help.  It’s some kind of job, and they want someone with my experience.”

Lynch chuckled.  “Experience.  Right.”

MacMillian looked back and forth between the three of them.  It seemed he was the only one not in on the joke.

Cyrus hefted the duffle a little higher on his shoulder.  “Anyway, I can give you the jist of things, but then I have to bug out.”  He blew out a breath.  “Last night, there was an incident at a place called Hell Maus.  It’s a goth club in SOMA.”

“Incident.”  MacMillian narrowed his eyes.  “What kind of incident?”

“Someone walked in and murdered everyone inside.”

MacMillian raised an eyebrow.

“Come now, Cyrus, give it to the man straight.”  Lynch crossed his arms.  “It wasn’t just ‘someone’.  It was a Son.”

MacMillian turned to him.  “A Son?”

Lynch groaned.  “Forgive me, of course, you’re a mundane.  A Son of Lazarus.  It’s how those of my kind refer to ourselves.  Maus is one of our clubs.”

MacMillian suppressed a frown.  “Noted.”

Cyrus continued.  “Anyway, you can guess how far the police are likely to get with this.  Lynch asked Lena and I to look into it.  He and I go way back, so I agreed.  Trouble is, I’m no detective, and, well, this is the sort of job that needs a detective.”

MacMillian nodded slowly.  “And I’m the only detective you know.”

“No.”  Cyrus met his eyes.  “You’re the only detective I trust.”


The Devil’s Disease is coming in early 2016!


Season Of The Witch Blog Tour Links Roundup

Links roundup from the book tour for Season Of The Witch (Shades Below, #1.5)

L.J.K. Oliva | Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance


Another one down!

Season Of The Witch’s blog tour wound down earlier this week, and it was every bit as fabulous and fun as the tour for A World Apart.  For posterity: I once again set up the tour through Roxanne Rhoads and Bewitching Blog Tours.  I cannot recommend her highly enough!

In case you missed some (or all) of the fun, here’s a quick roundup of all the links from the tour:


November 5
S.K. Gregory
“A well written story with some great characters. I love reading about witches and this book doesn’t disappoint…”

November 6
Paranormal Romance And Authors That Rock
“The writing style was very neat and very well written… Great! Sparks fly!”

November 9
Illuminite Caliginosus
“…An intelligent, almost lyrical story…one of the more enjoyable and engaging books I’ve read this year.”

Guest Posts

October 14
Mythical Books
“Intermediary Stories”

October 20
Roxanne’s Realm

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