Who is Luki Vasquez and Sonny Bly James?
One of the hottest, complex couples around in M/M fiction. Luki Vasquez, of Hawaiian and Basque descent, has a tortured past and a present as a former law enforcement agent. Sonny Bly James is a Yakama native american living in Port Clifford, Washington and a fiber artist of renown. He too arrives with a past strewn with pain and problems. Together they form one of the most fascinating and continually evolving couples around. All thanks to their creater, Lou Sylvre, who just happens to be here today to give away an entire set of the Vasquez and James books!
Read the blurbs and excepts and don’t forget to enter the contest by the Rafflecopter link provided!
This is a must read series. On to my interview with Lou Sylvre.
STRW: Your Vasquez and James series now includes 6 stories….is there more to come?
Lou Sylvre: No, I think not. A few people have asked me to write another book, and I considered it, but basically, when I wrote Because of Jade, I felt that at last Luki and Sonny had found a true HEA, and I’ve decided to stick with that. There may be a short story or similar at some time, but the series is filled to the brim I think. They will be secondary characters, however in upcoming spinoffs.
STRW: What it is about these men and their relationship that has compelled you to continue to write about them?
Lou Sylvre: They’ve demanded it, in one way or another. I do prefer to read series, and for probably the same unexamined reasons prefer to write them as well, so I did know it would be a series—but I’d expected three or four books, not six. Except for Loving Luki Vasquez, which grew out of the characters that presented themselves to me, each book has been the one that was needed to resolve something in the previous one and carry the love story to its next level. None of the books were the ones I’d planned, but the big surprises were the novella, Yes, and the final book, Because of Jade. Still, once the series was complete, it feels to me like those books, as well as the others, were inevitable from the very start.
STRW: Sonny James is a textile artist. Are you a weaver yourself? If not? Why make Sonny a textile artist?
Lou Sylvre: I’ve done quite a bit with textiles—sewing, quilting, a lot of crochet—but other than some very basic baskets and some lap weaving, years ago, and bead weaving until my eyesight made that nearly impossible, I’ve not done any weaving. I knew a woman once (who is actually mentioned briefly in Delsyn’s Blues), who was very accomplished with the loom. I remember visiting her and seeing a partially finished blanket she was weaving using a vivid red, a dye she made from cochineals which she kept in her freezer. It was a long while ago—late 70’s I think, and at the time I had a Judy Collins lp with a song that spoke of a weaver, in whose hands “traveled” bright red and other colors. The image stayed with me always, along with the music, and somehow a path in my mind led me to apply it to Sonny. I always knew he was an artist, accomplished, learned, and completely in love with his medium and tools. He’s perfect as a weaver.
STRW: Weaving, knitting (my love) are incredibly tactile, the textures are as much a passion as the colors. What is your passion?
Lou Sylvre: I am passionate about so many things, but I won’t bore you with the list. At this juncture in my life, I’ve put my passion for language first. Prose more than poetry, but definitely informing the meaning with sound, rhythm, and color. I don’t mean saying blue, I mean using words that convey blue, and making them fall in the right place with the right emphasis. I work mostly with every day words rather than hunting up new ones in a thesaurus. I also, conveniently enough, have a passion for story—especially fiction. I enjoy facts, but fiction is where I find deeper truth. And, story and language enrich my interactions with people, and that’s a passion, too.
STRW: Did you have a muse for Vasquez and James or a muse overall?
Lou Sylvre: Luki Vasquez and Sonny James were (are) my muses for their series, and of course Jade played muse, too, when she came into the picture. And characters do generally act the muse for me, simply because my fiction is strongly character driven. Other than that, engagement with the world around me is the closest thing I have to a muse.
STRW: How much of yourself and your experiences are poured into either Sonny or Luki or both?
Lou Sylvre: Really, it’s impossible to say. Although it can truly be said on the one hand that every character is their author, once they come into being they become individuals that don’t necessarily resemble me. I rarely use actual life experiences as a source for my stories, but I know that pieces of my psyche resonate with my characters’ traits and stories. Often, I don’t discover that resonance until during or even long after I’ve written it.
STRW: Do you see yourself writing in other genres other than contemporary fiction?
Lou Sylvre: Certainly. Under other names, I’ve written fantasy, magical realism, paranormal, even horror, and Lou Sylvre will undoubtedly visit some of those. I even have some sci-fi I want to write.
STRW: What do you find sexy in a man?
Lou Sylvre: As a bisexual woman, I have to say that what I find sexy in a man is generally the same thing I find sexy in a woman. It’s a little hard to pin it down to a description, but the women and men I’ve been strongly attracted to in life are people who resemble each other a lot, in manner and their way of moving through the world. Probably I would find them sexy regardless of gender. The best words I can find to describe the primary traits? A kind of strength, ownership of their body, ability to connect, empathize, and able to generate in me a feeling of sanctuary. Physical traits—grace, often tall stature, I love shoulders and hands, the chest (male and female), and hip bones. Etcetera. I find physical flaws that reflect a person’s story, such as scars or a crookedly healed collarbone, enhance a sexy look rather than detract. And, every lover I’ve had has owned a different, singular physical trait that flew me to the moon.
STRW: Do you have favorites among the characters you write and if so which one?
Lou Sylvre: Oh, I always feel so guilty answering this question! Yes, I’ll admit, I have favorites. In the Vasquez and James series, Luki is it. If you wonder why, consider my answer to question eight, and read the books. Sonny is like a willow, he bends with the storms, and sends up new shoots to cope with loss. Luki is freaking ironwood. If life is strong enough to wound him, the healing is slow and must be deliberate, but once healed, he will never break in that way again.
STRW: What’s next up for Lou Sylvre?
Lou Sylvre: Next is A Shot of J&B, a spinoff from Vasquez and James featuring Jackie Vasquez and Brian Harrison who encountered each other in Finding Jackie. It is suspense/romance, like V&J, but ventures into BDSM light—D/s and rope kink, and Brian and Jackie are very different people from Luki and Sonny.
I also have a completely different type of novel in the works, co-writing with Anne Barwell. It’s Scottish historical set in two times, the early 17th century and mid-18th, and has a strong twist of magical realism.
STRW: Thank you! This was a great interview. I loved Jackie and Brian and can’t wait to see what you have in store for them both!
Lou Sylvre hails from southern California but now lives and writes on the rainy side of Washington State. When she’s not writing, she’s reading fiction from nearly every genre, romance in all its tints and shades, and the occasional book about history, physics, or police procedure. Not zombies, though. Her personal assistant is Boudreau, a large cat who never outgrew his kitten meow. She plays guitar (mostly where people can’t hear her) and she loves to sing. She’s usually smiling and laughs too much, some say. She also loves her family, her friends, the aforementioned Boudreau, a Chihuahua named Joe, and (in random order) coffee, chocolate, sunshine, and wild roses.
Visit her at http://www.sylvre.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLouSylvre
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Vasquez-James Series Book Blurbs
Vasquez and James Series Blurb
Professional badass Luki Vasquez and weaver Sonny James meet for the first time in Loving Luki Vasquez, and they might make a sizzling couple if they can ever get past the impulse to run the other way every time romance comes into view. Then again, they have to stay alive if they’re ever to see their wedding day, and tribulation, cruelty, and greed has a way of demanding attention at all the worst moments. Together, they pack a lot of resources to fight for love. If they can hold out, they just might win the enduring love and family they were meant to share.
Loving Luki Vasquez – (Vasquez and James Book One)
Reclusive weaver Sonny Bly James controls every color and shape in his tapestries, but he can’t control the pattern of his life—a random encounter with Luki Vasquez, ex-ATF agent and all-around badass, makes that perfectly clear. The mutual attraction is immediate, but love-shy Sonny has retreated from life, and Luki wears his visible and not-so-visible scars like armor. Neither can bare his soul with ease.
While they run from desire, they can’t hide from the evil that hunts them. After it becomes clear that a violent stalker has targeted Sonny, Luki’s protective instincts won’t let him run far, especially when Sonny’s family is targeted as well. Whether they can forgive or forget, Sonny and Luki will have to call a truce and work together to save Sonny’s nephew and fight an enemy intent on making sure loving Luki Vasquez is the last mistake Sonny will ever make.
Vasquez and James Short Excerpts
Loving Luki Vasquez
Single Whip led into White Crane Spreads Its Wings, the name of which made Sonny adorably… all right fine, adorably happy. The sequence involved motions that at first felt counterintuitive. Like probably every student in the centuries tai chi had been around, Sonny needed help with it. As he would with any other student, Luki stood behind him, using his own hands to guide Sonny through the move. He wondered if he could get away with teaching him all the rest of the moves in just that way. Perhaps for hours. Every day. For a long time.
As he was teaching and wondering and probably even almost smiling, a wind rose up, splashing spray and sand and whipping Sonny’s long hair at Luki’s face and right into his mouth. On the word “open,” appropriately enough.
Sonny spun around, gathering up his luxurious baked-earth red hair. Before Luki had a chance to close his mouth, Sonny kissed him. A passionate, seeking sort of kiss. A kiss that Luki instinctively returned, though kissing wasn’t a large part of his intimate life, and especially not kissing on the beach.
As suddenly as he started it, Sonny ended it, leaving Luki bereft… frustrated and bereft.
Sonny turned away, refusing eye contact. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I shouldn’t have done that.” Without any further explanation, he stepped away.
Luki knew fear, could spot it from afar and pick it out in a crowded room. Right now, it ran hot through Sonny’s veins. He reached for Sonny’s arm. “Sonny, what….” What are you afraid of? He ended the question silently. Sonny had already gone.
Delsyn’s Blues – (Vasquez and James Book Two)
Sonny James and Luki Vasquez are living proof that the course of love never runs smoothly. Ambushed by grief, Sonny listens to a voice singing the blues from beyond the grave. While revisiting the sorrows and failings of his past, in the here and now he puts up a wall against love. Just when Luki chips through that barricade, the couple becomes the target of a new threat from outside: an escalating and unexplainable rash of break-ins and assaults.
Thoughts of infidelity rise between them, a threat that may strain their newly mended love past its limits. To come through the trials alive and together, Luki and Sonny will have to unite against enemies who were once friends and overcome crippling hatred and overwhelming fear. If they succeed, maybe then they can rekindle the twin flames of passion and love.
As he wandered through his bare rooms, Luki traded the perfect, flawlessly tailored clothing he usually wore even at leisure and donned tattered jeans and a faded flannel shirt. Just what Sonny would have worn, and it helped keep Sonny alive in his mind, a man rather than a thin shade. He’d look a lot better than me wearing this, he told himself, padding over the hardwood floor to the only room in the house he ever smoked in, wondering on the way when the floor had become so cold. Once he got there, he switched on the silent fans and the omnidirectional heat, sank into the leather of the only easy chair in the house, and lit up. In his mind, he could hear Sonny clearly, as if his lover stood right next to him. Or sat by him on their love seat. Or sat on the floor at his knees making drawings for a tapestry he would weave so resplendent the world would probably weep. “You should quit,” he’d say.
Luki knew he should quit. Knew that cigarettes… cigarettes and hamburgers were the only flaws in his otherwise perfect health regime. Smoking would someday, probably soon, take a toll. Perversely, when he met Sonny he’d started smoking more than ever before, just because Sonny’s existence in the world nudged him off his solitary perch, the place where he seemingly rose above the world of emotion and let other men into his life only occasionally to practice his skills at cold but perfectly executed sex. With Sonny? Anything but cold. Although still close to perfect. He smiled at the memory of Sonny’s surprised looks when Luki showed him something new, something that, in all his gay years, he’d never felt.
“Luki, please,” he’d say.
Finding Jackie – (Vasquez and James Book Three)
Luki Vasquez and Sonny Bly James finally have their Hawaiian wedding, and it’s perfect, almost. But their three-phase honeymoon is riddled with strife. Luki’s status as a working badass spells discord for the newlyweds. A former informant from Luki’s days with ATFE brings a troubling message (or is it a warning?) from a Mob hit man. When Luki’s sixteen-year-old nephew, Jackie, is lured into capture and torture by a sadistic killer, the honeymoon is well and truly over.
The couple put aside their differences and focus on the grueling hunt, which takes them from leather bars to dusty desert back roads, and calls on Sonny’s deep compassion as well as Luki’s sharpest skills. Their world threatens to fall apart if they fail, but their love may grow stronger than ever if they succeed in finding Jackie—before it’s too late.
“You know what, Titus? I don’t want to kill him.” Marcone swept a hand against the cool silk-soft wood of his desktop, thinking of Nadia’s skin. His heart had started beating faster. “I want to show Vasquez why he shouldn’t have been part of anything that screwed with the Marcone name, why he should have made haste to take his fag lover far away the minute he saw there were Marcones involved. This isn’t the first time we’ve opposed one another, but this is the first and will be the last time he’s deliberately involved himself in smearing shit all over my name. I’d have forgiven him everything that came before he realized who Richard and Marina were, if only he’d gone east at that point, instead of racing back west to stick his guns in where they didn’t belong. And I want him to keep remembering, keep feeling the pain he earned with that fuckup, keep that pain with him for years. For the rest of his life.”
“Yes,” Titus breathed, his voice gone low and distant.
“And that won’t be hard either, Titus. I’ve been doing my homework—keeping a watch on him through a variety of sources. He’s got people, and for all his hardass ways, his heart’s like a sponge.”
Titus took a quick breath, and spoke without inflection. “I love people like that.”
The DA’s brows rose, and he smiled. “I know you do, my man. I know you do.”
Saving Sonny James – (Vasquez and James Book Four)
Luki Vasquez and his still newlywed husband are back home after pulling off a harrowing desert rescue of their teenage nephew Jackie. But the events of the last couple of years have begun to catch up with Luki—loving Sonny James and letting Sonny love him back has left gaps in his emotional armor. In the gunfight that secured Jackie’s rescue, Luki’s bullet killed a young guard, an innocent boy in Luki’s mind. In the grip of PTSD, memories, flashbacks, and nightmares consume him, and he falls into deep, almost vegetative depression.
Sonny devotes his days to helping Luki, putting his own career on hold, even passing up a European tour of galleries and schools—an opportunity that might never come again. But when Luki’s parasomnia turns his nightmares into real-world terror, it breaks the gridlock. Sonny realizes what he’s doing isn’t working, and he says yes to Europe. Enter Harold Breslin, a dangerously intelligent artist’s promoter and embezzler whose obsessive desire for Sonny is exceeded only by his narcissism. When Harold’s plan for Sonny turns poisonous, Luki must break free of PTSD and get to France fit and ready in time to save his husband’s life.
Saving Sonny James
Almost whispering, breathing in fearful sounding gasps, Sonny said, “Luki, I want you to fuck me…. No. No, I want you to make love to me.” He looked away then back to meet Luki’s eyes, brow lowered with worry. “Luki, I know—”
“Sh! Hush, baby.” Luki kissed the tender arch of Sonny’s foot—the rest of him being out of reach. He looked at Sonny and nodded. “Yes. I want that too.” […] With all the power of his mind, he blocked out the things that would get in the way of him loving Sonny—had been getting in the way for weeks. And with all the power of his heart, he focused everything on his husband, his love. His breath beginning to come faster, biting his lip for stability, he rose on one knee and moved toward his husband.
His hands wanted to wander over Sonny’s skin, and he let them. Let them follow the long slender curves of Sonny’s legs, his inner thighs. When he reached his sex, he framed his husband’s familiar and much-missed cock and balls with his hands, but he didn’t touch them. He let Sonny see the smile in his eyes as he instead moved his hands up over hip bones and belly and abs and pecs with their hard puckered centers of dark, sensitive flesh. Once he reached the chiseled shoulders, he lifted Sonny and pressed him against his own chest. And then he took his lips in a kiss like fire.
Yes – (A Vasquez and James Novella)
Professional badass Luki Vasquez and textile artist Sonny James have been married for five years, and despite the sometimes volatile mix, they’re happy. From their first days together, they stood united against deadly enemies and prevailed. But now the deadly enemy they face is the cancer thriving inside Luki, consuming his lungs.
As Luki’s treatment proceeds, Sonny hovers near, determined to provide every care, control every thread of possibility just as he does when he weaves. But he can’t control the progress of the cancer or how Luki’s body reacts to the treatment regime. Sonny tries, but Luki dances with cancer alone—until he gets a startling reminder of the miracle of life. With renewed determination and mutual love, the two men emerge from their coldest winter into a new spring day.
Yes (A Vasquez and James Novella)
[Luki] woke up in profound darkness, aware of Sonny still beside him, but held rigid now while small, strangled noises escaped from deep in his throat. Even if it hadn’t been for the give-away sniffle, Luki would have known. Sonny was crying. Not that “I’m sad” kind of crying that was more a glorified pout. No. Sonny fought for all he was worth not to let a sob fly loose. His heart had a great big, hurting hole in the middle of it, and Luki had put it there, and still Sonny tried to protect him. If he couldn’t stop from crying, by God at least he’d do it quietly and let Luki sleep. But he and Luki had loved too long, too deep, too close for Luki not to hear it anyway, to register it even in his sleep, and understand. And feel it, too, like what Sonny felt.
Luki rolled over and put his arms around the man who, when all was said and done, he loved and would love forever.
Because of Jade – (A Vasquez and James Novel)
Luki Vasquez receives the news he’s still cancer free after five years, and he wants to celebrate with his whole family. He and his husband, Sonny James, take a road trip south, intending to gather at the home of his nephew Josh, Josh’s wife Ruthie, and Jade—a little girl who was still in the womb when she and her mother helped Luki beat lung cancer.
Halfway to their destination, Luki learns Josh and Ruthie have met a tragic death. The horrible news lays Luki low, but he pulls himself together in time to be the family’s rock and see to the dreaded business of tying up loose ends. The most important business is Jade, and when Luki and Sonny head home, they take Jade with them.
Luki and Sonny must combat self-doubt and fear and help each other learn to parent an unexpected child—and they must also nourish the love that has kept them whole for the past ten years. A relative’s spurious claim to Jade threatens the new family, and even if they prevail in court, they could lose their little girl unless they can rescue Jade from evil hands and true peril.
Because of Jade
Later, while Sonny and Jade lay on the floor in front of the fire, and Sonny read Merry Christmas, Mr. Snowman! over and over, Luki paced. He stopped occasionally to look out the window, and just as the sky began to lighten he saw that snow had begun to fall, big flakes touching down soft as feathers to cover the lumpy, frozen ground near the house.
Luki turned around to share the wonder of snow with his family, but they had at last fallen asleep stretched flat on the floor on their stomachs—Jade because of her injuries and Sonny because of his aching back. Luki shook his head and smiled, surprised at how much he loved them even though he knew. He threw some wood on the fire and banked it and fetched a light but warm down comforter and a pillow from the bedroom. Laying himself down next to them, he covered them all three, let his head fall to the pillow, and found first peace, and then sleep.
7/18 – The Hat Party, Kimi-Chan
7/25 – Rainbow Gold Reviews, The Novel Approach
8/1 – Hearts on Fire, MM Good Book Reviews
8/8 – Prism Book Alliance, Tara Lain, Fallen Angel Reviews
8/15 – Smoocher’s Voice, Love Bytes
8/22 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Nephylim
8/29 – LeAnn’s Book Reviews, Book Reviews and More by Kathy
9/5 – Amanda C. Stone, Emotion in Motion
Contest: The prize for Lou Sylvre’s Book Tour Vasquez and James tour is a Series Book Pack. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Visit the link below for contest details and entry form.
a Rafflecopter giveaway