Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: Venom! A Natalie McMasters Mystery by Thomas A. Burns, Jr @3Mdetective @RABTBookTours

Publisher: Tekrighter, LLC
Date Published: 1 March, 2020

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A spooky mansion in the Georgia mountains with an outrageous cast of characters. Spiders, snakes, meth-heads and serial killers, oh my! Venom! ain’t your average gothic mystery, folks.

But who would expect it to be when Natalie McMasters is involved? She’s fallen madly in love with two people—her wife, Lupe, and Danny, her partner at the 3M Detective Agency. Rather than choose one of them as her life partner, she’s decided to have them both, and roped them into a relationship retreat in rural Georgia to learn how to live as a polyamorous family.

But Nattie finds more than she bargained for in the sleepy town of Greypeak. A methamphetamine operation. A snake-handling preacher. A retired FBI agent hunting a serial killer. And a charismatic psychologist who just might have his own agenda for his clients.

Nattie ultimately finds herself in the most dangerous situation she’s ever faced, which may well solve her relationship problems by costing her life. Is this really the last book in the Natalie McMasters series?

Interview with Thomas A. Burns, Jr

For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of Venom!, where should they start?
Here’s a good reference on living a polyamorous lifestyle:
More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory Paperback – September 1, 2014 by Franklin Veaux (Author), Tatiana Gill (Illustrator), Eve Rickert

Even more importantly, if you are lucky enough to know someone who lives an alternative lifestyle, talk with them about it. Ask them how they feel about the way that they are perceived by others, and the problems they encounter.

How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?
The subject matter of Venom! emerged organically from the plot lines of the first three Natalie McMasters books. Part of Nattie’s story is her coming of age and consequent self-discovery. As the series opens in Stripper!, Nattie is bisexual, but does not know it. She falls in love with another woman, and at that point, she thinks she’s a lesbian. Later on, in Trafficked!, she falls in love again, with a man this time. Conventional morality dictates that she must choose one of them as her life partner. But Nattie is anything but conventional.

What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?  
My first goal is always to write a thrilling, sexy mystery to entertain my readers. I am very satisfied with the level of tension and the pace of Venom!

My second goal is to explore some contemporary social issues, and to prompt my readers to examine their beliefs about them. The big issue addressed in Venom! is polyamory - families that consist of multiple spouses. When Nattie realizes she’s in love with two people, her wife Lupe and her partner Danny, she doesn’t understand why she has to hurt one of them by rejecting them, hurting herself in the process, just because society demands it. To her, love is love, no matter whom one is in love with. So, she decides have both of them, forming a family in which she has both a husband and a wife. Through the struggle of these three people to come to terms with this idea, I wanted to explore how issues like conformity, jealousy and selfishness can affect lives, and illustrate the problems that people who march to the beat of a different drummer may have when they embrace a non-conventional solution to a serious life issue.

Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thanks very much for taking the time to read my books and to consider the ideas in them. I hope they bring you pleasure, and make you think about things you might not have considered if you had not read them. I’m always interested in feedback from my readers, positive or negative. Contact me through my website at https://www.3mdetectiveagency.com/contact/, or follow me on Facebook (Nattie’s Readers), Twitter (@3mdetective), Instagram (3mdetective) or Tumblr (nataliemcmasters) and tell me what you think

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Venom! is set in a grand mansion in a fictional county in rural Georgia. Since I believe strongly in setting as character, I had a blast working out the details of the mansion and the town, delving into subjects as diverse as moonshining in the 30s and snake-handling churches.

Can you tell us a little bit about your next books or what you have planned for the future?
The next Natalie McMasters Mystery is entitled Sniper! It’s the story of Nattie and her new fam trying to deal with issues arising in the throuple while a sniper is terrorizing the city.

How long have you been writing?
All of my life, really. I wrote stories as a kid, in marble-backed copybooks, about my favorite characters and TV shows. I wrote at least two Man From U.N.C.L.E. novels before I was ten. I’ve been working as a full-time novelist since 2017, and I’ve finished five novels and published four. I have also published four Sherlock Holmes stories in the MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, published by MX Publishing in London, UK.

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Venom!?
Natalie Simone McMasters - When the series begins, Nattie is twenty, short and blonde (OK, it’s bleached!), way cute, and a pre-law student at State, a major university in the capital city of a southern U.S. state. To help pay her way through school, she’s working for her uncle Amos, who runs the 3M Detective Agency. Nattie’s job is to stake out people who’ve filed insurance claims to make sure they’re hurt as badly as they say. It’s ideal for a college student, because she can study while on stakeout.
By the time that the events in Venom! occur, Nattie has turned twenty-one, discovered she’s bisexual and in love with two people – her wife, Lupe, and her co-worker in 3M, Danny. Rather than choose one of them as her life partner, she’s opted to try to get both of them to join her in a polyamorous family.

Maria de Guadalupe Ibanez (Lupe) – Lupe is Nattie’s wife. She came to the U.S. illegally from Mexico after repeated rapes by siccarios in a drug cartel that controlled her village. She gave birth to her son, Eduardo (8) after she arrived in the U.S. She worked as a stripper and discovered that she has a tremendous natural talent as a pole-dancer, and was able to leave the strip clubs and work as a pole dancing instructor in several gyms in the city. She was raised catholic and has many issues with her LGBT lifestyle, which Nattie is trying to help her through. She became addicted to heroin when she was kidnapped by sex traffickers, and currently is a member in good standing of N.A., where she’s been clean for some months. Lupe is also an excellent cook and prepares all of the meals for the family.

Danny Merkel is an ex-Marine sergeant and an ex-cop who is one of Amos’ partners in the 3M Detective Agency. In Venom!, he’s in his middle twenties, 6’2” with blond hair, blue eyes and rugged, handsome features. He entered the Corps straight out of high school, but became disillusioned with the missions assigned to the Marines after serving three tours in Afghanistan. Similarly, he quit the police force when he encountered systemic corruption that he could not condone. He fell in love with Nattie about a year ago, but did not make a move until he thought that Lupe wanted out of the marriage. He’s not thrilled with the idea of a throuple, but he loves Nattie way too much to just give her up.

If you could spend the day with one of the characters from Venom! who would it be? Please tell us why you chose this particular character, where you would go and what you would do.
I’d like to spend the day with Jean Valjean Victor, the retired FBI agent whom Nattie meets in a park in Greypeak, Georgia, and spend the day talking serial killers in his Airstream trailer.

About the Author

Thomas A. Burns, Jr. is the author of the Natalie McMasters Mysteries. He was born and grew up in New Jersey, attended Xavier High School in Manhattan, earned B.S degrees in Zoology and Microbiology at Michigan State University and a M.S. in Microbiology at North Carolina State University. He currently resides in Wendell, North Carolina. As a kid, Tom started reading mysteries with the Hardy Boys, Ken Holt and Rick Brant, and graduated to the classic stories by authors such as A. Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, John Dickson Carr, Erle Stanley Gardner and Rex Stout, to name a few. Tom has written fiction as a hobby all of his life, starting with Man from U.N.C.L.E. stories in marble-backed copybooks in grade school. He built a career as technical, science and medical writer and editor for nearly thirty years in industry and government. Now that he's truly on his own as a novelist, he's excited to publish his own mystery series, as well as to contribute stories about his second most favorite detective to the MX anthology of New Sherlock Holmes Stories.

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James Robert said...

Thank you so much for taking time to bring to our attention another great read. I enjoy these tours and finding out about many terrific books.

Unknown said...

Thank you for hosting!

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