Friday, February 26, 2021

Blog Tour: THEFT BETWEEN THE RAINS by Luba Lesychyn


Theft Between the Rains

by Luba Lesychyn




: International Art Theft Mystery






What would you do if you worked at a reputable international museum and art works listed as still missing since WWII began showing up on your doorstep?


That’s the substance of the newest urban art theft thriller Theft Between the Rains by Luba Lesychyn.


Drawing on her more than 20 years at Canada’s largest museum, Luba reintroduces many of the affable and quirky characters from the prequel, Theft By Chocolate. Also resurrected is the malicious art thief who has been on the world’s most wanted criminal list for decades.


Theft Between the Rains takes readers behind the scenes at museums and to parts unknown of Toronto. And with water being a character unto its own, Luba uses both humor and thriller elements to weave a page-turning story while simultaneously illustrating how changing weather patterns and flash flooding are impacting metropolitan centers globally.




Excerpt Two:


The establishment’s boutique served as a retail antechamber to the dining area, and it would take every single molecule of self-control to bypass the exquisite jewelry-case-like displays that were making all of my senses dance. Rather than gems, however, the delicate glass cabinets were appointed with rows of truffle delicacies infused with Bombay chai and Tahitian vanilla, Seville orange and sweet curry.


The chocolaty delights sported deliciously creative names like Thai Me Up, Curry in a Hurry, Hot Mess, and Belle du Jour. From there my eyes wandered to wall displays strategically populated with pastel-hued macarons flavored with lavender and cassis, figs and red wine, passion fruit and pistachios. The white floors and walls formed a perfect backdrop highlighting the vibrant wares. I dug in my heels and cantered forward like a horse with blinders on.



Rules of Engagement

When it comes to engaging readers, there’s no single formula. But there are various elements that are commonly used to capture a reader and keep them involved in one’s written word. It’s not always necessary that a writer excel in all of these components, since audiences are different for different kinds of genres, but there are some basics that writers should keep in mind no matter what the genre.

As a writer of a pair of humorous international art theft stories, Theft By Chocolate and Theft Between the Rains, I started first with my main character. I wanted to write about the world in which I had worked for a few decades, that of museums, so I knew my protagonist was going to be a museum employee. She was going to be loosely based on myself, as I would be able to give the character a sense of authenticity. Readers are smart as whips and have so much access to information, news, theatre, culture, etc., so if you’re writing about an assassin, for example, research and immersion in your character is of utmost importance. One can bet that if something starts to feel false, your reader will be on the Internet doing a search to validate their hunch or just drop the book entirely.

So along with authenticity comes emotional connection. This doesn’t mean your character needs to be emotive. Again, using the same example as above, if you’re writing about a cold-hearted sociopathic killer, they need to be portrayed in such a way that makes the reader’s skin crawl, or the opposite, showing an uncharacteristic soft side when they might be dealing with a child. One’s characters must be three-dimensional, and although a writer may be keeping their back story out of focus, or out of the picture entirely, the character needs to be portrayed in such a way that makes them fit effortlessly into the world you have created in your story.

In my own case, plot came second – not in importance, but in development. In fact, one of the most important and intriguing plot lines in my first book wasn’t written in until the third draft. I had enough bones of a story, but when I had a fortuitous encounter with someone who had some insider information about a real-life and never-solved cold case heist that had taken place at the Royal Ontario Museum in the 1980s (where my books are set), I knew I had to find a way to incorporate the storyline into the book. So, I did an extensive rewrite to tie it in with what I had already written. I knew that it would be the hook that would intrigue readers and keep them turning the pages.

Conflict is another important element in storytelling and reader engagement. We often think of conflict in simple terms – protagonist vs antagonist embodied in two different characters – which I have used in my own works – my main character, Kalena Boyko, is challenged both by a nefarious colleague as well as by an art thief. But internal conflict within a character can be just as intriguing for readers. Kalena is often her own worst enemy. At times she loses confidence in herself or lets her imagination go wild and easily jumps to conclusions that get her into trouble. Situations can easily be created on so many different levels that will have readers cheering or thinking, ‘oh, no, I see this isn’t going to go well.’

Settings are another aspect of stories that keep readers engaged. They can be simple pastoral settings or an enclosed room, but if that’s the case, the writer has to convey the beauty or the ugliness, the openness or the restrictiveness, with great precision and with an eye to detail. In my case, my books are set in a museum and one of my goals was to take readers behind-the-scenes, to spaces the public would not normally have an opportunity to see.

In many instances, just describing locations may not be enough to create a sense of awe or wonder. But one has to be consistent. For example, when describing a banal room, one can bring it to life by clearly describing the sound made by the creaking of a huge door – it can transport your reader into what might feel like an eerie atmosphere and leave them wanting for more.

Suspense is another aspect of reader engagement, but depending on the genre, it might not be appropriate. I personally adore literary works and I have a great appreciation for breath-taking language. Unfortunately, not all of us have that skill, and in my writing, suspense has been an important element to keep my readers from putting the books down. It’s vital to understand the rhythm of suspense, whether in a sentence, a paragraph, a chapter ending, and its balance throughout the whole of your work. And a writer must learn when to just have some breathing space in between the suspense. Sometimes this sense of pacing is innate, but many writers need to learn it whether by reading in their own genre, taking courses, or working with mentors who can help a writer internalize this skill and apply it in their own writing.

There are so many other elements that one can address as far as keeping a reader engaged, such as defining the tone of the story, infusing one’s own passion, or effective editing. But it’s key to remind oneself that a writer’s journey has no conclusion and that the learning curve never flattens. On the other hand, that’s precisely what makes writing so enthralling and why writers are so impassioned about their own craft.







AUTHOR Bio and Links: 

Luba Lesychyn is a popular Toronto-based mystery writer, a graduate of the Humber School for Writers, and a respected author in the library readings and events circuit.


In her two books, she draws from her more than 20 years of work experiences at the Royal Ontario Museum (Canada’s largest museum), and her time working for a private museum consulting firm to write humorous, international art theft thrillers featuring amateur sleuth Kalena Boyko. Her newest book, Theft Between the Rains, is a sequel to Theft By Chocolate (about a woman looking for chocolate, love and an international art thief in all the wrong places) published in 2012 by Attica Books and launched in Canada and the UK.


Luba currently spends her time writing and virtually touring Theft Between the Rains in which lead character Kalena Boyko returns to find herself pulled into international art theft intrigue when masterpieces missing since WWII start appearing on her doorstep.















Luba Lesychyn will be awarding a print copy of Theft Between the Rains to a randomly drawn winner (US or Canada ONLY) via rafflecopter during the tour.



Enter to win a print copy of the book - a Rafflecopter giveaway


BOOK BLAST: REAPER by Jonathan Pongratz

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jonathan Pongratz will be awarding a 15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Five years have passed since the Reapers invaded Earth and tore it asunder. Gregory, his mother, Trent, and their group of scavengers hunt the decimated wastelands for survival.

But when a sudden Reaper attack forces Gregory through a Reaper door, he finds himself in a bizarre place, one that may provide answers to the Reapers’ past and where they came from.

Can Gregory put together the pieces of the past and find his way home, or will he just become another human casualty in the lost war against the Reapers?

Read an Excerpt

I crouched behind a row of old dusty cars beside my mom and two other sharpshooters, my body trembling. Don't freak out. Be brave. Remember your training.

I took a deep breath and dared a peek ahead between two cars. Across the street was a deserted grocery store covered in grime and soot. It was a small shop, maybe two or three times the size of an average gas station. A bunch of old, rotted wooden planks covered the windows, but the front entrance was untouched. Whoever had been here was either dead inside or long gone. No one in their right mind would leave their home unfortified, not anymore.

All was quiet except for the wind, but I knew better. We all did. Any second and the Reapers could be right on us. Though they never came out during the day, we couldn’t leave anything to chance.

Mom pulled out her walkie. “Proceeding with root-out of potential Reapers.” She retrieved an oddly-shaped ball constructed from cans, tins, and several small bells we called chatter boxes from her supply bag and hurled it over her head.

The chatter box clunked loudly on the ground, bouncing before stopping in front of the seemingly-empty store. For a couple moments we all sat there, waiting for any sign of Reapers.

Mom’s walkie crackled to life. “Patricia, I think we should--”

“Quiet!” Mom hissed. “I think I hear something.”

I couldn’t hear anything, but there was definitely a difference in the air, like it was charged somehow. Just like the basement five years ago. Images of the past filled my mind: My little sister Imogen, the electrified feeling down in the basement, the Reaper’s sudden appearance. I shook off my thoughts and edged close to my mother.

“You’re right, something’s coming.”

Mom nodded, her gaze fixed on the grocery store. “Be brave, Gregory. If you have to, fall back.”

I shook my head. There was no way I was gonna miss out on this.

Her eyes widened, and she gripped her walkie once more. “Reapers, incoming!”

I drew my Glock from my holster, turned the safety off, and tried to look through the abandoned store’s smudged entrance. It was dark inside, but I could see two hulking figures scrambling to the front of the store at breakneck speed.

Oh shi--

Two Reapers crashed through the entrance in an explosion of glass that blasted shards in a thousand directions. As the projectiles clinked on the ground I stared at the monsters before us, a chill running down my spine.

Large, festering boils covered their reddish, emaciated bodies. They stood tall on two clawed feet, but could easily switch to all fours for speed, doubling the danger of their razor sharp appendages. The Reapers opened their mouths, revealing multiple layers of jagged, pointy teeth as they gave ear-piercing shrieks of rage.

A grin spread across my face. Time to die, assholes.

I aimed, then pulled my trigger as deafening gunshots came from my left and right. We’d hit the one on the right several times. A thick, black liquid oozed from its wounds, but it was still in fighting shape and pretty freakin’ pissed based on the hideous snarl on its face.

The aggravated Reaper leaped forward on all fours, bounding over the car we were hiding behind and landing in front of the sharpshooter furthest from me. It gave a mighty roar, snatching him up and throwing him like a rag doll. He went flying, landing on a nearby car’s windshield with a loud crack. The monster eyed the other sharpshooter with furious, predatory yellow eyes.

Shit, shit, shit! I lunged towards the Reaper as I targeted it, then yanked on my trigger. It gave a high-pitched cry of pain and staggered back a step. Damn it! I’d only hit its shoulder. Its hateful gaze was now focused on me.

A sudden gunblast boomed from my comrade, and the Reaper fell to the ground, unmoving. A large pool of black sludge gathered underneath its head where the bullet had exited.

Before I could rejoice in the kill, Mom shouted nearby. I spun around. She was battling the other Reaper in front of the grocery store with a long knife in hand. She had deep cuts on her arms and legs, while the monster sported several nonfatal gunshot wounds. I tried to aim for the Reaper but they were moving too fast, desperately circling one another for an advantage. One wrong move and I’d shoot my own mother.

The Reaper took a wide-arching swipe at her, but she dodged to the side, cutting its leg as she went. The monster screeched and turned to attack, but mom slid between its legs and was now behind it. Point blank, Mom whipped out her revolver and fired three shots into the back of the Reaper’s head. It fell to the ground, twitching in its final death throes.

Mom lifted her combat boot and stomped on its head with a sickening crunch. The Reaper didn’t move anymore. She spat on it, then pulled out her walkie as I approached. “All clear. Torch the bodies.”

I glanced back. Twenty yards away behind another row of dead cars, our small group of noncombatants emerged. Mom strolled towards the grocery store and I jogged to catch up to her, eager to see what was inside. Whatever it was, it had better be worth it.

About the Author:
Jonathan Pongratz is a writer and author of captivating horror, fantasy, and other speculative fiction stories. When he’s not writing, he’s busy being a bookworm, video game junkie, and karaoke vocalist. A former resident of Dallas, he currently resides in Kansas City with his Halloween cat Ajax. By day he works magic in finance, by night he creates dark and mesmerizing worlds.


Reaper: Aftermath Universal Ebook Link:
Amazon Paperback:
Barnes and Noble Paperback:

Reaper: A Horror Novella Universal Ebook Link:

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