Monday, May 26, 2014

The Complete Check Your Luck Agency

Today's special guest is KS Augustin."Kaz" loves writing human stories, whether set on Earth or out among the stars. Malaysian-born, she has travelled a goodly portion of the world and lived to tell the tale! Her urban fantasy release, The Complete Check Your Luck Agency, consists of five books, exploring the myths and legends of the melting-pot that is south-east Asia. Come for the food, stay for the monsters! (Ghosts included at no extra charge.)


As if all that's not enough, she's also Chief Editor of the free online quarterly magazine, Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly. http://www.scifiromancequarterly.org/



ON MYTHICAL CREATURES AND SOUTHEAST ASIA

I sit here in south-east Asia, at the melting pot of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Arab cultures, swirled with Portuguese, Dutch and British invasions, thinking of how best to tell you about the creatures in my book, The Complete Check Your Luck Agency.

Unfortunately, as many creatures had to be left out of the book as got into it, but let me whet your appetite. While Western readers may have one image of a ghost, south-east Asia has a variety. There's the kuttisaathan, a ghost that haunts Hindu graveyards; the ghosts who receive no ancestor worship, or hungry ghosts, of Chinese mythology; and the hantu lubang, the Malay ghost that inhabits caves and crevices, just to name three. We have vampires, but they're exclusively female—women who have lost their lives during childbirth. Thanks to the Arabs, we also have djinn, who are believed to guard the casinos in the region!

What about elves, you ask, I bet you don't have them? On the contrary! They're called orang bunian, the beautiful people who can lure you to their kingdom. A day spent with them can translate to a decade passing in the normal world. They can give you your heart's desire, but are quick to punish if they feel they've been slighted in any way.

This is the world that Ursula Formosa enters. The problem is, Ursula has paranormal abilities but is determined to ignore them; until, that is, she can't. I know I'm only her creator, but I get the feeling that Ursula deliberately joined quirky The Check Your Luck Agency because, deep down inside, she really wanted to get in touch with her psychic side. In any case, what she discovers is much more than she expected and, if she and her new friends are going to live, she's going to have to grow up fast and learn to work together with the strangest group of people you've ever met.

Lastly, several of the situations in the book have been things that have actually happened to me, and all of them have been described to me by various locals. I try to keep a sceptical mind about all this (much like Ursula, although I don't have any of her powers), but something still scratches in the back of my mind. Was that really the wind blowing through a coconut palm? Or was it the playful breath of a lonely spirit?

I'd like to welcome you to a different world—hot, sweltering, verdant, mysterious—and hope you enjoy your stay there. I guarantee, it's different to what you're used to.


ABOUT THE BOOK


Sometimes life is stranger than fiction.

After the tragic death of her parents, and with nothing left tying her to the United Kingdom, Ursula Formosa returns to her homeland and a job with the eccentrically-named Singapore firm, “The Check Your Luck Agency”.

What begins as an attempt to stave off boredom turns into a new way of life as the scales drop from Ursula’s eyes and she tentatively enters a realm that contains vengeful ghosts, toyol, demons, pontianak and curses, not to mention old-fashioned fraud and larceny. As she befriends bomohs, mediums and a young woman already centuries old, Ursula’s ideas of friendship expand into a fresh view of the world that surrounds her.

But she isn’t going to be left to ease into things. A criminal mastermind, who is also a powerful sorcerer, is gathering mythical creatures to help him possess every living soul in Singapore, and he isn’t about to let the members of The Check Your Luck Agency stand in his way!


AN EXCERPT


“What made you take a job with Fiona Li?”

“I think it was Fiona who chose me,” I laughed. “She had the craziest ad in a newspaper one weekend, and I was mulling my options at the time. It was a fortunate confluence of circumstance, as she’d say.”

“You mean you didn’t train to become a paranormal investigator?” he asked with a smile. It dented his cheeks, giving him dimples to go with those liquid eyes, smooth voice and engaging manner. I swallowed. I was in serious trouble.

“I don’t see myself as a paranormal investigator,” I corrected him.

I knew Fiona’s views on the Agency’s work and my own differed markedly, but I wasn’t going to lie to the smooth-skinned, extremely handsome man seated across the table from me.

“I’ll admit I’m the sceptic of the company,” I began. “In fact, in every case I’ve handled in the past six months, not a single one ended up being attributed to supernatural causes.”

“Not one?” He was clearly incredulous.

“I certainly haven’t seen them,” I demurred. “So far, ten out of ten times, the ‘bad luck’ dogging our clients has been down to greedy relatives, unscrupulous business practices or malicious ex-lovers.”

“Not one case of hauntings or possession or things that go bump in the night? Not one instance where you’ve seen something you can’t explain?”

Yes! Tell him!

I looked him straight in the face. “No. Nothing like that at all.”



SPECIAL LINKS



Kaz's website is at http://www.KSAugustin.com and a list of her books can also be found at http://www.SandalPressOnline.com She occasionally tweets as @SandalPress

The Complete Check Your Luck Agency is available from:








The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 




8 comments:

Mary Preston said...

I loved learning about the mythical creatures thank you.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Kaz Augustin said...

Hey Mary, fancy seeing you here! :)

And thanks to all at Book 'Em for inviting me and letting me tell a little about my book.

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

MomJane said...

This sounds like a fascinating story.

p.m.terrell said...

Thanks for joining us here today! Your book sounds fascinating; I love seeing originality and imagination. Best of luck with your book tour.

bn100 said...

Interesting post

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Elena said...

thank you for the giveaway!

elena150980@yahoo.com

http://harpsromancebookreview.com said...

Interesting . Makes you think.