1.When you got your very first manuscript acceptance letter, what was your initial reaction and who was the first person you told?
I was so nervous about being rejected that when I got the email, I made my husband read it watching his face carefully. Well, he has poker face so he kept me on edge until he said, “Wow, they love it and want to offer a contract! I immediately told my brother because he was the one who pushed me to write down the stories I’d dream up with my legos as a kid.
2.Post on how you came up with the plot and/or character(s) and/or worldbuilding:
I grew up on welfare as a kid. And I remember worrying where our next meal would come from and if we’d have enough money to meet rent. I dreamed up the fantastically wealthy Delomary family as a coping mechanism, shrinking myself into their world so I could escape the reality I was living in. For the worldbuilding, I was inspired by the works of L. Frank Baum and Tolkien. I created this fantasy world growing up during the Reagan years and imagined a world that was similar to ours only better, there was no crime or hunger or violence, and especially, free of racism and bigotry.
3. Have the character share a favorite recipe.
Elijah loves his Mom’s Roast Beef, slow roasted with onions, mushrooms and simmering in red wine (My mom put wine in almost every dish, I think it’s a Sicilian thing) served with mashed potatoes and peas.
4. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
I would definitely want to fly. In my books, I feature a lot of characters flying, floating and walking on air. I was inspired by Wu Xia movies from Hong Kong, where the characters can fly while they fight. I think this is so cool!
5: What is your favorite food.
Cheese, hands down,I love it sliced, in cubes or chunks, melted down and dipped with bread, stuffed into lasagna and shells and especially cheese pizza. I can’t get enough of cheese, to the chagrin of my doctor.
Timoteo Tong has a new MM YA sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal romance out: Magic, Monsters, and Me. And there’s a giveaway.
Sixteen-year-old Elijah Delomary loves the City of Angels. The sunshine, the palm trees, the ocean. He especially enjoys battling the monsters infesting the dark corners of the vast metropolis.
As he starts his junior year at Burbank High School he meets a new friend, Austin who also fights monsters to keep Angelenos safe. As their friendship develops and love blooms, Elijah’s arch nemesis Devlina reappears, threatening to use magic to destroy the world.
Elijah must now juggle pursuing his feelings for Austin, meeting the lofty expectations of his affluent and influential family, and fulfilling his destiny to combat the forces of evil and save his hometown.
Warnings: Bullying, racism, homophobia no HEA cliffhanger
Timoteo is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:
Fifteen-year-old Austin Kang Jr., well over six feet tall, lean and lanky with a mop of black hair falling over his eyes, adjusted the thick black glasses on his face. He studied the white stone and glass mansion jutting out over a hillside on North Sunset Canyon Drive. The house appeared to have good feng shui, with a Southern exposure to allow absorption of positive chi, a panoramic view of the Valley below, and a clear path to the front door.
Feng shui was important to Austin and his parents. They believed it helped center their family and keep them grounded and safe. Austin and his parents were descended from a long line of Magicals called Glimmerers who could tap into a glimmer of magic and twist, turn, and manipulate it as if it were hot ore being turned into a sword.
Coaugelus, as they were known in the Old Language, the mother tongue of the Magicals, were a class of warriors. They defended Magicals and Ordinaries, or humans without magic, from dark forces, creatures, and monsters that lived in the dark shadows of Earth—a place called the Gloom.
Coaugelus, Magicals, and Ordinaries lived in the light in our world, also known as the Shimmering. Everywhere that the sun touched was part of the Shimmering. Austin, his parents, even the people driving by in cars, walking their dogs, and watering their lawns shimmered and lived in the light.
Long ago, the Gloom and the Shimmering met face-to-face in a great war that killed and destroyed countless Ordinaries, Magicals, and monsters. The war raged on and reached a crescendo. A Pàcifimenta, a treaty among Ordinaries, Magicals, and the Gloom was signed. The war ended. Peace settled over the Shimmering and the Gloom.
Still, many in the Coven, the collective of monsters in the Gloom, did not agree with the Pàcifimenta. They didn’t like that they had to sacrifice feeding on Ordinaries or haunting, possessing, or simply terrorizing them. Others wanted power to control the Coven, and to defeat the peace created by the Pàcifimenta. Some creatures didn’t like peace as part of their nature. These monsters were fought by Coaugelus like Austin and his family.
Austin loved three things in life: playing soccer (known as football back home in Hong Kong), listening to grunge music like his dad, and fighting the Coven. For Austin, being a Coaugelo gave him a purpose in life and a place where he felt like he belonged. He particularly enjoyed kicking, punching, and using Xem Sen Ou, the ancient martial art from Minerva in Old Earth in the Seventh Dimension where all Magicals came from.
He also fancied his PlasmX, a purple plasma staff that folded into nondescript metal object akin to a lighter that he always carried with him. He had used it only last night while hunting down a group of rather angry werewolves, or Malloupus, that were attacking tourists at the night market in Kowloon. Austin enjoyed watching the pure purple plasma slice through the heads and arms of werewolves that were in the middle of reaping the souls of innocent Ordinaries.
Austin loved saving Ordinaries from monsters.
“What’s our assignment?” Austin asked his parents.
“Trouble is breaking out within the Coven here in Los Angeles,” said Austin Sr.
Austin and his family spoke with posh accents, a holdover from when Hong Kong was a colony of the UK. “We’re here to investigate and report back to XAQ2,” continued Austin Sr.
“Bleedin’ hell,” Austin complained. “XAQ2 are wankers. Full of rules. Can’t we simply report to the Anti-Coven League and be done with it?”
“Xutactiendo Allégansa Qu’elicallen Duzo have moved more operations of the League from the clandestine to the legal,” said Austin Sr.
“What does that mean?” Austin asked.
“The Alliance is strained and weakened. As leaders of the Alliance, the Còngréhassa are trying to placate their counterparts in the Coven and maintain the Pàcifimenta. Part of that entails relying more on formal procedures. The League works in secret, whereas XAQ2 works through formal channels as the official body of the Alliance.”
“Tossers,” Austin said. “XAQ2 can all go to hell as far as I’m concerned.”
Austin glanced at his parents, who were standing beside him holding hands. His parents were madly in love, even all these years later. He wanted to be in love. He was going to find it—here in Burbank where he’d have four passions: soccer, grunge, being a Coaugelo, and being in love with a cute, wonderful, and smart boy. That was Austin’s secret.
Coaugelos shouldn’t kiss other boys, or so some said—at least, the old-timers in the Alliance. He didn’t care what they thought, but he worried what his parents would think. They were his best friends.
Austin fought and traveled all over the world with his parents. He was worried that if he told them his secret, they wouldn’t understand or accept him anymore. Losing the closeness with, and love of, his parents would hurt more than the bite of a Qu’muqa, a monster with green scales and ten mouths on two heads.
His parents worked as agents for the Anti-Coven League. When they got a new assignment from the League, they took on new day jobs for cover.
“What jobs are you supposed to be doing?” asked Austin.
“This time around, I manage a highly profitable import-export business specializing in Chinese antiquities,” responded his mother.
“Jolly right you are,” Austin quipped. “How many bloomin’ vases do we have?”
Austin Sr. frowned. “Too many,” he observed.
“What about you, Dad?”
“I run a gas station somewhere called Van Nuys,” Austin Sr. said.
Austin glanced at his mom and dad. “Looks like you got the shit job this time, eh Dad?” he said.
They all laughed.
“I ran a nail salon in Bangkok last time for six months,” Austin’s mother said. “I hate salons.”
“Yeah,” his father said. “I had to collect garbage in Berlin for a year. Remember?”
“How could I forget the smell? I had to be a maid in Buenos Aires.”
Austin tuned them out. This was one of his parents’ games: try to top each other in who had the worst fake job while they were out in the field fighting monsters for the League.
Austin caught sight of his cousin Barnhard “Barn” Wong strutting up the street toward him and his family.
Barn was Austin’s best mate. His father was Austin’s uncle. Austin was an only child, as was Barn. When they were together, they acted like brothers.
Barn waved, jumping up and down. Barn was always full of life and energy. Austin loved being around him. Life was better around his cousin.
“Oi, Kangs!” Barn shouted in Cantonese.
Austin noticed a red-haired boy with brown eyes and a band of freckles on his nose walking next to Barn.
Austin’s heart melted. He was the most beautiful boy Austin had ever seen—from Mumbai to London to New York and Tokyo and Sydney. He felt the universe shift inside him. He could feel the boy pulling him in as if Austin were a satellite circling the Earth.
Austin liked that feeling. His parents orbited each other, and like them, he wanted to circle this boy—forever.
Barn and the red-haired boy parted ways. Austin watched the boy walk across the street under the canopy of jacaranda trees, disappearing into a four-story white stucco Spanish colonial mansion.
“What’s my assignment?” Austin asked as Barn arrived, pausing to hug his uncle, aunt, and Austin.
Barn was affectionate and loved hugs and kisses, or smooches, as he called them. “Reconnaissance with my mate here? Hunting down Àzmadus? Orgmas?” Austin continued.
Barn high-fived Austin. “Let’s destroy monsters!” Barn exclaimed.
Barn was a Coaugelo like Austin. Barn’s extended family owned the Wong Aero-Magicals Corporation that made the PlasmX in factories in Chicago, Tokyo, and Bangkok as well as other equipment used by the Alliance to fight the Coven.
“You’re just a high school junior,” Austin’s mother said. “You need a break from hunting and fighting. You need to have fun!”
“You need to be a boy,” his father echoed.
“Killing monsters is fun,” Austin responded.
“Really fun, Auntie!” Barn added. “Austin can train at the Dáu Xhà, the dojo with Dáumo Máurso, the sensei.”
“Who?” asked Austin.
“He’s an Immortal—Mars, the God of War. He runs the best Dáu Xhà in the world. You’ll learn the most powerful Xem Sen Ou with him,” explained Barn.
“Oi,” Austin said, “training with an Immortal. That’s amazing.”
“He’s amazing,” Barn said. “He’s nearly ten feet tall, a knot of muscle, and his voice makes the earth tremble.”
“Sounds a tad frightening,” Austin admitted.
“He’s the God of War, mate,” Barn explained, nudging Austin in the side with his elbow.
“Fair enough,” Austin replied.
“He likes cats—he has a dozen at his home. He also likes hot dogs—a lot—and slushies,” Barn said.
“Yuck,” Austin said, rolling his eyes. “I hate slushies.”
“Let’s go to the Dáu Xhà after you drop your stuff off,” Barn said, “So I can introduce you to Máurso.”
Austin glanced expectantly at the moving truck, the boxes on the sidewalk, and his parents.
“Go,” his mother said in Cantonese. “Have fun, boys! And no killing monsters!”
“Oi,” Barn said, already ignoring his aunt. “There’s a poltergeist at Dirk Delomary’s department store in the mall—third floor, women’s hosiery. We can destroy it after we get hot dogs and hang with Máurso,” he said. “And I know a cute girl at Chicken on a Stick who’s an Encantreina. She can turn satay into powerful silver daggers that will kill any monster.”
Austin grinned. He loved Burbank already.
Timoteo Tong grew up on a quiet street in Burbank, a suburb of Los Angeles located in the San Fernando Valley. He dreamed of one day living in a Victorian mansion with many rooms filled with antiques and artwork. He imagined himself fighting monsters.Timoteo grew up and began writing stories of a family of fighters battling monsters to save humanity.
Timoteo currently lives with his husband and a plethora of houseplants in San Francisco. He enjoys reading, writing, drawing, naps and binge watching TV. He loves cheese pizza, Pepsi and Vans.
Author Website: https://www.magicalsalliance.com
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/timoteo.tong
Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/timoteoktong/