Monday, April 8, 2013

VBT: Review and Guest blog by R.L. Naquin author of Pooka in My Pantry

I am thrilled to have R.L. Naquin guest posting today!

The Idea Garden by R.L. Naquin

This is the last stop on my month-long virtual book tour. I am exhausted. I’ve met some lovely people, answered a lot of questions about myself, and tried not to bore people with my guest posts.

Out of eleven interviews, I learned that people really do want to know where writers get their inspiration and ideas. To a writer, this is kind of a funny question. The real question is, how do I turn off the ideas so I can get some sleep?

It wasn’t until a woman in a hair salon asked me the question that I finally understood. She said she doesn’t have any stories in her head and can’t imagine how I come up with them.

I was baffled. How do you not have characters chattering in your head all the time? How do you not start half your sentences with “What if?” How do you live all your moments in the real world?

And then I realized, my bewilderment was an exact replica of hers.

Up until that moment, I thought the question was a joke, and I answered it that way:

• I belong to the Idea of the Month Club and get a new batch every four weeks.

• I have a potted idea garden in my yard. Whenever I’m short, I pick a few fresh ones.

• I buy ideas wholesale.

• I steal them from your brain by osmosis.

• I have a steady flow of them from an implant aliens stuck in my skull.

• I perform rituals to the Great One-eyed God of Wombats and he provides them.

• I put out bowls of cream, and fairies leave me ideas in exchange.

But now, I understand. It’s a serious question, so it deserves a serious answer.

The truth is, ideas come from everywhere:

• A snippet of conversation from the table next to me in a restaurant.

• A striking hair color on the woman ringing up my groceries.

• A fever-induced dream after eating bad sushi.

• A newspaper article about a woman who says she gave birth to a snake.

• A story my grandmother told me when I was little.

• A ridiculous outfit worn by a guy walking down the street.

• A silly thing I saw my neighbors do.

All the pieces come together, rearrange themselves, and become parts to a story. It all starts with a question—What if? Everything after that is an attempt to come up with a plausible answer.

In the first Monster Haven book, Monster in My Closet, the question was “What if the closet monster from your childhood was sitting at your kitchen table in broad daylight?” For book two, Pooka in My Pantry, the question I started with was “If you cheat death twice, would the Reapers make you pay for the privilege of being alive?”

Everything that followed was taken from life, then smashed, hammered, folded, spindled, mutilated, and pasted together to form the most plausible, yet weird answer I could come up with.

I don’t know if I’ve answered the idea question or made it worse, but I’ve given it a try. If not, then go ahead and assume writers are just crazy, and ideas are a side effect of insanity.

It’s probably closest to the truth anyway.

Thank you so much for this awesome guest post. I too get baffled by the creativity that comes from all of you talented authors. My family often says that for as often as I read, which is ALWAYS, that I should be able to write a story myself. I would love to be able to write but it just isn't gonna happen. :-(

Pooka in My Pantry

Monster Haven, Book Two

Author: R.L. Naquin

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Carina Press

ISBN: 978-14268-9524-1


Word Count: 89,000

Cover Artist: Croco Designs

Amazon or BN

Book Description:

Zoey Donovan—empath, wedding planner, go-to girl for monsters with personal problems—has been marked twice for pickup by Death. On both occasions, Riley the smoking-hot reaper has refused to follow through. For his breach of protocol, Riley is now on probation. For her refusal to die on schedule, Zoey's right to live is challenged. She will have to undergo a life-or-death trial, but she won't know when or where it will happen…

Staying alive might not be so difficult if the Leprechaun Mafia hadn't strolled into town. Now every business owner with the slightest connection to the supernatural community is being threatened with the most appalling bad luck if they don't pay up. Mirrors are smashed, bodies are dropping, and Zoey's still got clients waiting for fabric samples.

With a little luck, she might be able to save everyone and still have time for a second attempt at a decent first date with her favorite reaper.

Here's an excerpt:

You help one monster in need, and everybody hears about it.

The recent appearance of various monsters and mythical creatures in my life took some adjustment. But no amount of flexibility prepared me to assist in the live birth of a sea serpent in my own backyard. That’s a lot to ask of anybody.

My swimming pool looked like a major crime scene, and I was pretty sure bits of mucus mixed with dried blood flecked my hair. I’d probably have to take out a personal loan to cover the water bill once I took a three-hour shower, then drained and refilled the pool.

When the sea serpent appeared in my pool a month before, I had no clue what to do about it. Fortunately, Maurice, my resident closet monster, was quick on his feet. While I stood slack-jawed at the kitchen window, he ran to get Molly to be our translator. Fluent in all sorts of crazy creature languages ranging from house pets to gargoyles, Molly, the brownie, lived in a mushroom house in my backyard with her kids.

As it happened, she was unable to decipher a word of sea-serpentese.

Fortunately, a pygmy dragon with a nasty cold had recently spent his convalescence in my garage. Molly spoke dragonish, and Bruce, the dragon, spoke serpentese. Problem solved.

Except it took over three weeks to find Bruce, leaving us with no idea why a listless, snorting sea serpent had moved into my swimming pool. Communicating in pantomime with a creature that had no hands was futile, absurd and probably hilarious to watch.

When Bruce (via Molly) explained the situation, I did my best not to panic. The sea serpent was pregnant, but she could tell something was wrong. Naturally, she came ashore to my house for help, since everyone in the supernatural community seemed to think I had the answer to every problem.

I had no experience delivering healthy babies of any species. All I had to go on were basic anatomy and zoology classes in college, and a wealth of medical procedural shows on television. And yet, something inside me clicked when Frannie went into labor and the baby stopped moving. I jumped into the water without a thought for my spangled, dry-clean-only shirt, or for the discomfort of wet jeans and high tops. In hindsight, I should’ve at least kicked off my shoes.

I’m not sure how to describe the supreme ick factor of having both arms shoved up to the elbow inside a sea serpent’s body. The baby was turned wrong, kind of folded in half and pointed to emerge center-first, rather than in a straight line with its head or tail facing the exit.

“Don’t push, Frannie,” I said. “I have to unfold the baby or it’ll stay stuck.”

Molly made a series of grunting snorts, which Bruce translated into a series of clicks and yowls. I felt the serpent relax around my squashed arms and wrestled the slippery baby into a better position. Another contraction hit and I stopped, waiting until I had more room to work.

The mournful cry from Frannie needed no translation.

When the contraction was over, I made another grab with one hand to hold the baby steady and pulled the head with the other. I’m not a dainty woman, but I’m not big enough to palm a basketball, either. That’s what it felt like I was trying to do in there, only the basketball in question had eyes I needed to avoid poking, and it was covered in what felt like tapioca pudding.

I got a good grip on a dorsal fin at what I hoped was the back of its neck as the next contraction hit.


Clacks and snarls followed down the translation line, and Frannie pushed while I pulled. My other hand shoved, guiding the rest of the baby straight. Once the head slipped into place, nature took over, and out everything slid. Right into my pool and all over me.

As an empath, I try never to leave the house without my protective walls up. The emotions of other people tend to overwhelm and drain me. But I was at home, and I was exhausted. I’d been so focused on the birth that I hadn’t built any barriers, so there was nothing between me and the small group around me to barricade my psyche against what wasn’t mine. I stood in the frigid water, unconcerned by my shaking body or the gore that covered me.

The emotional inrush saturated me in love and happiness.

Frannie nuzzled her new offspring, and a quiet joy settled over me, warming my freezing flesh. From Molly’s direction, relief lay across my shoulders like a heated blanket, and Bruce’s delight prickled my skin in electric jolts. My eyelids burned. I closed them to relieve the sensation. My back bumped against the side of the pool, and I let my knees bend so I could float.



They shot through the other emotions like tiny arrows. My eyelids cracked open, but only for a few seconds. Nothing was wrong. All was right. My job was done, so what would it hurt to take a little rest?

Thin fingers dug into the flesh in my arms, hauling me from the pool. I made a weak attempt to slap at the intruder.

“Zoey, come on, wake up.” Maurice was there, dragging me away from the water and piling towels on my wet skin.

My eyes snapped open. Well, crap. I lay flat on the pavement, still shivering, despite the previous illusion of warmth. Bodily fluids coated my skin, and Maurice had covered me with my good towels.

The closet monster’s big yellow eyes hovered inches from my face. His worry was so intense, it blocked all the warm fuzzy stuff happening behind him. He coaxed me to my feet, fussing at the towels to keep them from sliding off, and leading me into the house.

“Seriously, Zoey. I don’t know how you stayed alive before I got here. If you didn’t drown, hypothermia would’ve had you.”

About the Author: 

Rachel’s head is packed with an outrageous amount of useless Disney trivia. She is terrified of thunder, but not of lightning, and tends to recite the Disneyland dedication speech during storms to keep herself calm. She finds it appalling that nobody from Disney has called yet with her castle move-in date.

Originally from Northern California, she has a tendency to move every few years, resulting in a total of seven different states and a six-year stint in England. Currently, she’s planning her next grand adventure. Rachel has one heroic husband, two genius kids, several annoyed cats, and an imaginary dog named Waffles.

She doesn’t have time for a real dog.

Website / Twitter  /  Facebook / Goodreads 

My Thoughts:

It is times like these that make me thank my lucky stars that I blog and actively participate in blog tours. I am fairly certain that I would have missed this series otherwise.

Pooka in My Pantry was a wildly charming, hilariously entertaining, non stop page turning adventure.

This book could be read as a stand alone but I would suggest reading book one, Monster in My Closet first. 

In this book we get more of the excitement we have come to expect. We meet some new characters such as Silas the Pooka and spend time with some of our favorite characters from the first book as well! :-) I have to say that I love the characters. I wouldn't mind having a Maurice of my own!

Poor Zoey is still trying to deal with being stood up by Riley when more stuff hits the fan. She is being tested and monitored by the Board of Hidden Affairs to see if she is an Aegis (a human helper of the Hidden). There is a bad luck streak going around as well as a sudden (or not so sudden) appearance of the Leprechaun Mafia. A pooka with no boundaries decides to move in and never mind all the trouble that brings. lol! There is not much romance just some kissing but it was extremely enjoyable none the less. :-)

This series is mostly light hearted and fun, with quirky and highly imaginative writing, situations, and characters. This is not a series that you want to miss! I really recommend checking these books out. :D

I received a copy of both books in exchange for my honest opinion. For a great time read this series! Both books were awesome and I am looking forward to reading Fairies in My Fireplace later this year!

What would you do if you found a monster in your closet or a pooka in your pantry?

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  1. Brenday, thanks so much for having me as a guest on your blog! --Rachel

    1. It was my pleasure. I really enjoyed the guest post and I am now a huge fan of your series. I can't wait to see what else you come up with! No Pressure! lol! :-)

  2. Now... to be honest i have no idea what a pooka.
    But if i met a monster not too terrifying i oukld love to be able to chat with him and ask question... how he go there, why and if it's not too personal : what he is^^;;

    I do have a lot of imagination and it's frustrating when it's more active at night when i can't write my idea, i mean even for review i can see it perfecet during teh night and when in teh morning i want to put iton paper the right words don't came back. I love to imagine all that could happen, the endles spossibilities it's my way to hope

    1. Miki,

      Be glad that you don't have a pooka. lol! You should check this series out. It doesn't have as much steam as those that we usually read but it makes up for it with fun and imagination. :-0

  3. Per dictionary - No fairy is more feared in Ireland than the pooka. This may be because it is always out and about after nightfall, creating harm and mischief, and because it can assume a variety of terrifying forms.

    The guise in which it most often appears, however, is that of a sleek, dark horse with sulphurous yellow eyes and a long wild mane. In this form, it roams large areas of countryside at night, tearing down fences and gates, scattering livestock in terror, trampling crops and generally doing damage around remote farms."

    Now if I ran into a pooka, i believe I would be long gone, but I bet this book is an interesting read, one that would keep you reading, reading until all done..

    1. thank you Dorothy, it's really not what i had in mind when i read pooka^^;; but a horse i would perhaps wonder if i could ride on his back^^;;

    2. I don't think you'd want to ride on his back Miki.


      Thank you so much for looking up the word for Miki.

      This book is awesome and should definitely not be missed!

  4. These books sound like so much fun! Can't wait to check them out.
    steph 0828 at hotmail dot com

    1. I had fun reading them and I bet you will too.

  5. Oh totally keep it as a pet! :) Um.. probably slam the door on it in denial then slowly open it and peek in again. Then probably have a panic attack and whatnot. But then like I said I would probably try to keep it as a pet. LOL

    1. lol! Maurice is one monster that I would love to keep. He cooks and cleans. Who could ask for more?

  6. Recently I was trying to make some time for reading. Thanks for your review. I would like to start with some kinds of urban fantasy novel.

  7. It depends... if I was by myself I'd probably faint or some other such girly thing. But, I'm pretty sure if my kids were in the house I'd pick up the nearest item and start beating. Have to protect my babies you know ;)

  8. What a great book --- love the title! Enjoyed the post and excerpt. Thanks for sharing.If I found a monster in my closet, I would quickly close the door and call my husband to rescue me.

    1. lol! A great reminder of why it's nice to keep a man around!