Tag Archives: Alchemy

Tortured Soul, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome all you basement alchemists out there. Take a seat you members of secret societies. Have we got a show for you today. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you the characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and I have a doozie for you today. “Welcome to the show, Michelangelo.”

“Good day, Lisa Burton.”

“I’ve wanted to get you on the show for a while now.”

“That is my understanding, yes. Carmina Orsini—I believe she has asked you, as well as everyone she likes, to call her Nonna—has been asking me to talk with you. As I have told her repeatedly, I do not have the time. Alas, I also do not have the time to continue arguing with her. So, here I am. Against my better judgment. Because the woman is just… such a difficult woman to refuse.”

“I know Nonna, and she’s a wonderful person. She was on the show a year ago. Having some problems with one of her granddaughters, Donni.”

“Yes. I was made aware of her transgressions. She should not have done that. Doing so was dangerous. As is this. But, as I said, she is persuasive.”

“Now for our listeners, you are the actual Michelangelo. Can you tell us how you managed to stick around for so long?”

“It is a long story. Let me see, how can I simplify it for you? Alchemy is a precursor to chemistry. While there is a significant scientific component involved in the pursuit, there is an equal focus on magic. And while I realize alchemy is now a nearly-defunct practice, I can attest to the fact that it is, indeed, a fruitful and viable endeavor. Several centuries ago, I succeeded in conquering an alchemist’s two greatest challenges—finding an elixir of immortality and transmuting invaluable metals into untold riches. It has made for a long and rewarding life.”

“It seems like things might get boring after living that long. Do you find yourself running out of things to do?”

“If only you knew how humorous that statement is. While I was a burgeoning artist in Florence, I had the good fortune of being employed by the Medici family. My work and my loyalty to them yielded a mutually-beneficial agreement. While outwardly it would appear I was creating works of art for the family in exchange for their patronage, I was in fact serving as a bodyguard of sorts. And because this became such an intimate and lucrative partnership, I took a vow to always protect the family. It was because of the Medici patronage that I had the ability to conduct my alchemical research, so it was only fitting that I devoted myself to a perpetual defense of the family. I took a solemn vow. Hence the formation of the Medici Protectorate. Every generation since that time, I chose an elite class of warriors to protect the descendants. All these years later, the Notaro family—four daughters—are the lone survivors. With the Italian government currently in turmoil, the country is on the brink of revolution. Heirs of a powerful former ruling family would be ideally poised to take control and seize power. A nefarious faction has learned of their existence and is in pursuit of them, wanting to control them for its own benefit or eliminate them outright. I have chosen four men to be the Notaros’ guardians and several more men to serve as their support.”

“Um… devil’s advocate here, and all that. Has anyone considered what the girls might want in all this? I mean, maybe they don’t want to play princess Barbie. Maybe one of them wants to become a heart surgeon or something.”

“Of course their feelings have been considered. To the extent they are relevant, anyway. If any of the Notaro women was interested in ruling Italy, I would do everything in my power to make it so. But none of them wants that. They all work for their father’s building company and are quite happy in their respective fields. Control of any country is unappealing to them. I have even gone so far as finding a replacement for them—someone who is smart enough and benevolent enough to rule Italy for the good of the people. But until we are able to seat him at the head of the government, the Notaro women will be in danger. That is why they are in seclusion. I would like nothing more than to allow them their freedoms, but it is not safe for them to be in public, particularly on their own. That is why I have opened my homes to them and have assembled the family and their protectors under one roof. Only with constant protection will they be safe. And before you launch into a feminist lecture about the power of strong and independent women, let me stop you. This isn’t about damsels in distress and barbarian men thumping their chests to display their dominance. I have seen it. One of the benefits of my alchemical rituals was the creation of marble daggers which grant their wielders’ powers. One of my powers is foresight, and I have seen the future. The women are in danger without this protection. They, the country—the entire world—are in danger. The Notaros may not like being sequestered, but their discomfort is far better than the alternative.”

“Okay, so you miracled somehow that they’re going to come around. You know these are women we’re talking about, right?”

“I am aware, yes. At one time or another, each of them has escaped. And every time, to nearly disastrous consequences. That is why I found Carmen Scalzotto. He is an activist and a scholar—someone who will be an excellent ruler and can take the burden off their shoulders. But there is only so much I can do, and these confounded women are making things harder. They want to go home, the Brotherhood wants them to be happy, and now we have to protect the Notaro family in addition to Scalzotto. My resources are unimaginably large, but they are not infinite. We are spread thin. Too thin. It is time to put this challenge to rest once and for all, or I will not be able to protect… everyone.”

“So it’s not just fulfilling your vow. You care about the girls, but also want to keep Italy in the right hands. Hands you selected.”

“My feelings are immaterial. And at this point, so is my vow. Do you understand what will happen if this particular evil cabal assumes control of Italy? It will not mean the destruction of one country or even the entire European continent. Dictators have attempted to conquer the world before. Some have even come close, but they have always been stopped. That will not be the case this time. The world has never seen a mind so keen, so devious. So bent on control. If this organization wins, it will be unstoppable. It will mean global domination. Life as we know it will cease to exist.”

“Got it. So our best chance of saving the world involves protecting the Notaro sisters from the bad guys, but all you’ve assigned to the job are four brothers?”

“Very special brothers, hand-picked by me. I adopted them, groomed them, trained them. I used my sculptural skills and alchemical rituals to create special daggers which give them powers that enhance their already exceptional abilities. They are, as you say, the world’s best chance.”

“Daggers might be kind of cool, but we have explosive drones, rocket launchers, and things out there today.”

“Do you think a man can live as long as I have and not know the wonders of modern technology as well as what resides in the hearts of men? The marble came from my personal quarry. Each stone color taps into cosmic powers and provides the wielder with unique abilities. I spent years perfecting the rituals. Colors, materials, herbs, words, science—you cannot conceive of the time and effort put into these weapons. Nor can you comprehend the grueling preparations these warriors have been through. I have watched one of my sons after another give himself over to his calling and master his powers. Only Roberto has yet to fully embrace his gifts. And his are the most important of all. If he does not succeed in becoming one with his weapon and embracing his abilities, all hope is lost.”

“Roberto? You mean Coz, right?”

“Yes. Roberto Cozza.”

“Okay, so let’s project that Coz comes to terms with his powers. What happens next?”

“The Medici Protectorate has spent centuries watching and waiting. Defending. If I can get all four of the Brothers ready—and that means Roberto must come fully into his powers—then we can go on the offensive. We can bring the fight to… well, who leads the cabal is not the point, is it? Suffice it to say, I have known this man for a long while and he is formidable. The only way we can win is to instigate the final battle. And win it.”

“It’s all kind of sad in a way. These girls don’t want what their destiny provides. These brothers have been forced into this life and molded into warriors when they might have chosen different paths for themselves. And an old acquaintance who let you down can’t be trusted. Seems to have all the makings of a Greek tragedy.”

“We are not Greek, Miss Burton. We are Italian.”

“You’re something, all right.”

“I believe I have said enough to satisfy Carmina. If you do not object, I will take my leave now. There is still much work to be done.”

“No. No objection. You’ve given us plenty to think about. Thank you for visiting with me today. Any closing remarks for our listeners?”

“Your very lives are in danger. Whether you believe in alchemy or not, this is happening. And whether you believe in a higher power or not, you might want to pray for our success. Good day, Miss Burton.”

“You can read more about Michelangelo and the brotherhood in the Medici Protectorate Series, by Staci Troilo. Book four, Tortured Soul just hit the shelves.

“Make sure to use those sharing buttons on your way out. It really helps my guests and their authors out. I know Staci and Michelangelo would do it for you. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***

Protection is safety. Until it stifles.

After months of clandestine battles, the Brothers of the Medici Protectorate finally know who is responsible for the assassination attempts on the Notaro family, the secret descendants of the Medici line. And they’ve never faced such a formidable foe.

Roberto Cozza–Coz–faces this new reality with surprising pragmatism. His powers may make the difference in winning their covert war–if only he can master them in time. It would just be so much easier if he could get his emotions under control, but neither his Brothers nor their charges are making things easy on him.

Toni Notaro appreciates the security provided by the Brothers, but she knows she has her own role to play–and it terrifies her. She is the missing link in Coz mastering his emerging abilities, yet she struggles to bridge the gap between what he needs and what she can offer.

As the Brotherhood hurtles inexorably toward the climactic final showdown, Coz and Toni must find the strength within themselves and each other to master the secrets of his powers, or risk death and defeat for all they hold dear.

Universal Purchase Link: https://books2read.com/STtorturedsoul

 

Staci Troilo writes because she has hundreds of stories in her head. She publishes because people told her she should share them. She’s a multi-genre author whose love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work.

Web | Blog | Tortured Soul Info | Medici Protectorate Info | Amazon Page | BookBub | Goodreads | TwitterOther Social Media Links

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The Medici Protectorate, on Lisa Burton Radio #RRBC

Don’t touch that dial! You’ve found the Lisa Burton Radio show. I’m Lisa the robot girl, coming at you with 1.21 jigawatts of power. Today we’re talking to an actual member of the famous Medici family.

Today’s sponsor is Mind Control, Book Two of the The Medici Protectorate, by Staci Troilo. “Welcome my special guest, Jo Notaro.”

“Hello.”

“Jo, my bio says you’re calling us from a secret Medici Protectorate compound. What can you tell us about that?”

“Not much. Not allowed to talk about where we are or it could put me and my sisters in danger. I’ve already endangered us enough. The Brotherhood, especially Vinnie, would be furious if they even knew I was talking to you.”

“Why would you need protecting?”

“An accident of birth. <sigh> We’re not supposed to talk about it, but I hardly think it’s a secret anymore, if our lives are in danger. The Notaro family descends from the Medici line. Centuries back, Michelangelo promised Lorenzo d’Medici that he’d always look after his family. When everyone thought the dynasty died off, there was really one illegitimate child remaining—my great-great-great-times-whatever grandfather. Michelangelo took his vow seriously and created a secret organization to watch after the Medici descendants, generation after generation. Cut to present day, and there we were, thinking we were just a regular Italian-American family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, all of us working at the architecture and construction firm Papa founded. Then he gets murdered, these gigantic men invade our lives and hide us away, telling us we could be next. Constant monitoring, twenty-four/seven. I tell you, it can be stifling. Oppressive, even. That’s why I broke out a few times. Led to disastrous consequences. Now we’re all sequestered away, and I’m totally grounded.”

“A girl has to get out, am I right? Why do you have to sneak out? You should be able to leave any time you want.”

“I know, right? I thought so, too. At least at first. But like I said, disastrous consequences. My running away for a drink or a drive or whatever? People got hurt. My sisters ganged up on me to keep me in line. So did all the Brothers. Especially Vinnie, my personal warrior. They have to report everything to their boss, who in turn reports to Michelangelo—”

“WHAT? Are you telling me Michelangelo is still alive? The actual Michelangelo?”

“Oh, yeah. It’s all done with alchemy. Remember I said he made that vow to Lorenzo? He took it seriously. Very seriously. No one knows this, but he was an alchemical master. Actually figured out the philosopher’s stone. The guy doesn’t die, and he made himself a fortune—literally made it by turning lead to gold—to finance the Protectorate. He also used alchemy to create these daggers the Brothers use. He carved each one out of different colored marble from his own quarries. The design is exquisite, as you can probably imagine. But then he did some kind of ritual or spell or something, and each dagger now is imbued with special powers, which transfer to the Brother who wields it. You should see the guys use them. Vinnie—well.<sigh> It’s impressive. Enthralling.”

“Oooh, Vinnie. Tell us about him.”

“Vinnie. Hmm. Did you ever meet someone you were drawn to from the first second you saw him? Just some kind of primal instinct deep inside that burned for him?”

“Sounds dreamy.”

“That’s how it was the second I saw him, before I even knew who he was. But I squashed those feelings. I didn’t trust the guys at first, didn’t know who they were or who we really were. But once they were in our lives, those feelings just kept welling up, you know? At first it was just animal attraction. I’ve never seen a guy so hot in my life. But he kissed me, and I was a goner. And then when we—well, that’s too personal. Let’s just say he’s an impressive man on every level. But more than that, he has this ability to see through my BS and cut to the heart to the problem. He’s the first person since—well, he’s the first person in a long time to get me to open up. And I’m grateful for that. He makes this hiding out bearable.”

“Jo, it looks like you have a caller. Can we take a call?”

“Your show. You decide.”

“Hi caller, do you have a question for Jo today?”

“Jo. What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

“Jo, do you know this man?”

“Yes– Hi, Vinnie. I guess you had the radio on?”

“I was in the gym and my iPod died. I went over to the stereo system to queue something up, and who do I hear broadcasting all our secrets on the fucking radio? Che cazzo!”

“Sorry about that, Lisa. He lapses into Italian when he’s stressed.”

“About two words too late for the FCC.”

“Stressed? Why the hell would I be stressed? Didn’t you learn anything from—but I can’t talk about that on the damn radio! … Don’t you understand how dangerous this is? If you let anything slip that can lead them to you, if you got hurt… Damn it, Red. I can take almost anything—God knows I’ve already endured more than my share—but not losing you. I won’t get through that. You’ve got to be more careful.”

“Red?”

“A nickname. Because of my hair. He’s the only one who gets away with calling me that, so don’t.”

“Gotcha. Vinnie, if I might ask, you say she’s so important to you, why are you stifling her? Can’t you see she needs some freedom? Some autonomy?”

“And she can have it. If I go with her.”

“That’s hardly freedom.”

“What’s more important, Jo? Your freedom or your life? The lives of your family and friends?”

“You made your point, Vin. But you don’t understand how insufferable this is.”

“You don’t understand how difficult you make everything for me. Get off the air, Jo. Or I’m coming to get you.” <click>

 

“I hope you don’t get into too much trouble with Michelangelo for joining me today.”

“Eh, Vinnie’s not going to tell. He doesn’t need the headache. There’s more than enough on his plate. And I doubt the other guys heard. They’re too busy to listen to a talk show. Unless one of them was in the gym with him… But no, he would have said. I’m sure it’ll be fine. But I really gotta go. I think I hear him on the stairs, and I do not want him to come in here if I’m still talking to you. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest, Lisa. It’s been, well, not fun, exactly. A bit of a relief, I guess.”

“You take care, Jo, okay. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***

Three decades. Two continents. One secret that could cost him everything.

Too. Many. Secrets… and Vinnie Falco is buried in them.

He works undercover day and night to keep watch over Jo Notaro, whose fiery temperament matches her boundless energy and unparalleled beauty. Jo’s is unable to withstand the endless scrutiny and constant surveillance, so when Vinnie’s ever-watchful gaze lingers too long, she can feel his touch—and she doesn’t know if she loathes it or loves it.

Vinnie’s job to watch Jo goes much deeper. He’s a vice president of an international corporation, a front for a secret organization—the Medici Protectorate—which continues a tradition going back nearly 500 years to guard the Medici line. Jo and her sisters are the descendants of the Medici and someone wants them dead.

But Vinnie has another secret he’s desperately trying to hide. A secret that could push Jo too far away for even him to save her.

Staci Troilo has always loved fiction, ever since her parents read her fairy tales when she was little. Today, her interests are much more eclectic. She loves getting lost in sci-fi battles, fantasy realms, horror worlds, suspenseful intrigues, and romantic entanglements.

As goes her reading, so goes her writing. She can’t pick a single genre to focus on, so she doesn’t even try. She’s proud to say she’s a multi-genre author.

When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with family and friends, possibly cooking for them, or maybe enjoying an afternoon in the pool. To learn more about her, visit http://stacitroilo.com or connect with her on social media.

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Time for my 2015 business plan

It’s time for that business plan that I’ve been hinting about. The Happy New Years, and resolutions have all faded. I waited since I didn’t want this one washed away in the stream. Warning: I’ve been trying to keep the word count down, but this is a longer post. It’s important stuff to me.

I’m going to recap 2014, briefly. My goal was to self publish four older stories. I achieved this in October. I never expected a ton of success, because I was completely unknown. Still, success was there. Outside this blog, and the Rave Reviews Book Club catalog, I didn’t do any promotion.

The unexpected things were the most fun of all. When Lisa was named best character of 2014 by Karen I about fell off my Bantha. I know how much Karen reads, and this was the highlight of my year.

I was asked to guest post on several other blogs, and these are a ton of fun. I was also asked to host a few people, and this works out well too. I’ll be doing more of this in 2015.

I was surprised by my first fan art, which involved Lisa the robot at a comics convention. Lisa also appeared in a fan fiction with my blessing. I also won a spotlight author spot with Rave Reviews Book Club. I learned a lot from this experience.

I really enjoyed loaning some of my characters out and would do so again. Appearing elsewhere in 2014 were Doubt the Raven, Lisa Burton the robot, and Lorelei my Muse.

It’s time to formulate a plan for 2015. I’m going to be informal about this, because writing is my leisure project.

I have a manuscript that’s ready to go. I want to give The Cock of the South a bit more time as the newest book, because it deserves it. It’s a good story, and it’s too close to the blog tour to cut it off at the knees. The publishing goal is late winter/early spring.

This one is a return to paranormal, and it’s called Will ‘O the Wisp. I’m not going to just plunk it on Amazon and walk away. I’ve learned some things from 2014 and want to apply them.

I’m willing to send out advance reading copies right now. All I ask is that participants have an honest review ready to go by publication date. Those reviews are uber important. If you want one, hit me up in the comments. I’m willing to reciprocate with many genres. I can forward PDF, ePub, Word, or Pages formats. Just let me know.

WOW is set in the 1970s and involves a teenage girl whose very life is in danger. She’s perfectly prepared for the wrong challenge. This involves me writing in first person from the POV of a 15 year old girl. Challenging? Yup. It may also be the best story I’ve ever written. It’s suitable for young adults.

I also have a rocking cover for this book, and will forward it to those who participate, providing you keep it top secret. I’d prefer to offer WOW to my blog followers first, but might have to approach some new people depending on numbers. I’m going to ask the cover artist to reveal it on her blog first. Then I can reblog the heck out of it.

I’m going to write a dozen or more blog posts for WOW ahead of time. That way I can take it on tour without all the deadline stress. I may hire 4Wills to handle the blog tour, I may try it myself. I’ll decide later.

I also need to sweet talk S. K. Nichols into sending me the name of that promotional company she used. I like to try new things, and she had good results with them.

I have a second story I’d like to put out in the fall. If I can get it ready, I’ll follow the same recipe as above, unless I learn something better.

I need to improve my social media approach. Social media takes a lot of time, but it must be done. I still have no interest in Facebook, but I’m going to give Goodreads a try. I’ve heard good and bad about it, but everything is that way. I’ll blog about it when I’ve done it, and am accepting all tips right now.

I also have a fun idea for promotions on my blog. I’ve already entered a contract with my Wild Concept cover artist for some custom pieces. More on this later. Maybe I can coerce him into a guest post.

This might be a guy thing, maybe not. I hate giving up the front and regrouping. I’ve learned so much since my older stories were written that I’m pretty sure I could do a better job today. The Army never goes back and puts the knickknacks back on the shelves. They keep moving forward. Should I revisit my old stories at the expense of my current work in progress? This might help me with points in the author world, but it would make me unhappy. Thoughts? Suggestions?

I think I need business cards. My wife and I go out quite a bit. Leaving a card along with the tip, could be beneficial. Pinning it to a bulletin board could also bear fruit. I’ve heard from other authors that this stuff helps. I’m open to any hints from the writing community.

There is a ton of research I intend to do. I own some valuable old hardbacks that I need to browse once more. I wrote a vignette about some people in Africa that keeps calling to me. They have everything they need except a story. Some of my books are Death in the Long Grass, Green Hell, Man-Eaters of Kumaon, Man-Eaters of Tsavo, Bell of Africa, and Wanderings of an Elephant Hunter.

Those aren’t all set in Africa, but I can snipe from them. I seem to remember one about Karamojo Bell hunting for the Battleship Konigsburg. I think that one was corrupted into The African Queen. Better re-watch that too. I should probably brush up on the Boer wars while I’m at it.

Those ought to provide my Muse with a jolt of adrenaline. Obviously, this would be an historical piece, with some of my weirdness of course. Maybe I can get some ideas for one of the other vignettes I posted about the guy with a talking yak.

Speaking of research, does anyone know of a decent book about alchemy? I don’t want an encyclopedia, more of the “for dummies” version. I think the world could use a mad science story. I don’t have a specific plan, but it can’t be all about the philosopher’s stone. It seems to me there were some Frankenstein type projects too. Send me some recommendations.

I’m bouncing back and forth between two ideas. One is a book of short stories. I could separate each story with a Macabre Macaroni type page. The other idea is to publish a bundle with one each, science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. I could let it run for 30 days at 99¢ then unpublish it. I may do both, or neither. Has anyone out there got any data on success with these methods?

***

I know some of you have published bundles or books of short stories. I know some of you live in Africa. Some of you are Goodreads members.

I love the comments I get on this blog, but this time I want more. I really want to hear from you guys on this post. Do you want an ARC of Will ‘O the Wisp? Do you have any Goodreads tips? Have you found a good alchemy book that can kick my Muse in the pants? Have you read any of my archaic old collectables? Would you re-edit your old stories at the expense of forward momentum? Who has experience with business cards, good or bad? Let me hear from you.

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