Author Marie Treanor Release Party and $50.00 Amazon Gift Card Contest LIVE NOW Here!

Smoke and Mirrors (Book 1 of The Gifted Series) by Marie TreanorWelcome to Zavrekestan…

…isolated, beautiful, poor, secretive, a country full of smoke and mirrors, where nothing is as it seems. Because the ex-Soviet republic of Zavrekestan is home to the highest density of psychics in the world.

From one Zavreki village – where so many of the Gifted reside that it’s probably where the genetic abnormality began, back in the mists of time – has burst the enigmatic Rodion Kosar: fire-starter, rebel, wanted criminal and, astonishingly, the sexiest man Nell Black has ever met in her life. The fall out from Rodion’s activities has spread across Europe and America, affecting gifted and ungifted alike.

This is the background to my new series, The Gifted, which launches today with Smoke and Mirrors. My heroine, Nell, is the daughter of a Zavreki mother, but, brought up in Scotland, she suppresses the gifts she doesn’t understand until her heritage is thrust upon her by her explosive meeting with Rodion. Nell has dreams that come true. Rodion starts fires with his mind. His sister Anna talks to ghosts. His friend Nikolai can heal terrible injuries by touch. Others are telepathic. And others again have even weirder gifts.

Mix all that with some Russian organized crime, a grumpy fire goddess, a few British spies and a sizzling hot romance, and you have an idea of what Smoke and Mirrors is about. Then again, do you…?

Author Bio:
Marie Treanor lives in Scotland with her eccentric husband and three much-too-smart children. Having grown bored with city life, she resides these days in a picturesque village by the sea where she is lucky enough to enjoy herself avoiding housework and writing sensual stories of paranormal romance and fantasy.

Marie has published more than twenty ebooks with small presses, (Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Changeling Press and The Wild Rose Press), including a former Kindle bestseller, Killing Joe. Blood on Silk: an Awakened by Blood novel, was her New York debut with NAL.

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Learn more about Marie Treanor here:
Read reviews of the author’s work here.


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  1. Phew! Thought I’d never get here, after my problems earlier in the week, so doubly glad to be back at Bitten by Books and ready to party!

    Just sitting down for the evening with a small glass of wine at my elbow – it’s 6.30pm here, honest :)- and looking forward to chatting with you all!


    Marie Treanor
    Deceit, desire and a treasure beyond price…
    Smoke and Mirrors, Out Now

  2. Sounds good!

    What is your favorite character from your books?

    Who is your favorite author?

    • Hi Amy!

      Thank you!

      My favourite character from my own books… usually whoever I’m writing about at the time! However,being between books right now, I can see clearly that Rodion Kosar is definitely up there 🙂

      My favourite author – I have LOADS! But probably my favourite of all time is Scottish historical novelist Dorothy Dunnett.


  3. Thanks for the giveaway!

    So when you were doing research, did you have the opportunity to do any traveling? If so, what was the best part of the trip?


    • Hi Rini!

      You’re welcome :).

      Good question, but unfortunately no :(. The first part of the book takes place in Edinburgh, Scotland, a city I already know quite well. And the second part is set in Zavrekestan, which is a totally made-up country. So I had no excuse for jaunting across the world. Maybe the next book :).


  4. Hi Marie!

    Where did this wonderful idea come from for this story? It looks amazing! Thanks for chatting with us!


    • Hello, Stephanie! How are you?

      The idea came from a few different places. I wanted to write an intriguing story where nothing was as it first seemed, including the charismatic and possibly villainous hero – Rodion Kosar.

      And then I wondered about a country full of psychics, where paranormal gifts were almost the norm. And from that grew Nell’s conflict of cultures, and the rest of the story grew up around Rodion.

      Thanks Stephanie!


  5. I would choose to be able to move things with my mind. I think being able to see the future is one of the strangest paranormal gift you can have. Heritage is very important to me. If you don’t know where you come from, how do you know who you are.

    • Yes, that would be a useful skill – think of all the cleaning and tidying you could do without even moving :). And I agree foresight would be pretty disconcerting!

      I see what you mean about heritage – I’m very interested in mine too – but I wonder if maybe what we do is more important than who our family were? Not sure!


  6. Welcome back, Marie!

    It’s been a bit chilly here. So how is the weather in Scotland…. Curious because I always wanted to visit Scotland.. and see the sights.

    • Thanks, Raonaid! It’s great to be back :).

      It’s a bit chilly here too, but not too cold, considering – just very wet and damp, as usual! Scotland has its downside, and the weather is certainly one of them! Hope you brave it one day and come and see our sights :).


  7. First of all, I love your world building, Marie. I love that you find that balance between reality and fantasy, and make it believable.

    What comes first when you start a book or series…the characters or the world?

    • Hi Nancy!

      Thank you, that’s really good to hear:).

      Hmmm, I think it depends, but I think the story’s more successful when the characters come first and the world grows up around them. But sometimes it’s more “chicken and egg” and a character springs to life WITH the world.


  8. Hi Marie!! Wow, so unique! Did you create the setting as Zavrekestan or is that a real place that you using to set the characters in? Did this take alot of planning before you wrote the book(s) for this series or did it mostly come as you write?

    Cathie M.

    • Hello, Cathie! How are you???

      Thank you! I confess I made Zavrekestan up – somewhere with a bit of an excuse to have been isolated and unknown for much of history, and even now too poor to be obviously very interesting.

      I had to have a certain amount of plan for this one before I started to write, because it was just too complicated, but it grew as I wrote and I had to write new plans too 🙂


      • Hi Marie! I’m doing ok, hope you are too!. Thanks. I just grabbed the ebook! That instant gratification with ebooks is awesome, LOL. I know what I’ll be reading this weekend! I love the setting of Scotland! This book and series sounds unique and its gonna be fun reading! Did the name of the setting mean anything? I so understand with it not being a established place, this way you make it all of your own! Do you know how many books you plan or can we keep begging for more? 😀 Cathie M.

        • Almost didn’t see this, Cathie! Thanks, yes, I’m doing fine too 🙂

          Thanks for buying the book! Hope you enjoy it. No Zavrekestan doesn’t mean anything – Zavrek was a name I found when looking up Russian names, and I just stuck the “estan” ending on it 🙂

          At the moment I’m planning three books – just finished the second, sent it to my agent for his thoughts 🙂 – but there are possibilities for more if readers like them.


  9. Answer the Author’s Question – How important is your heritage to you? Do you embrace your family

  10. Hi! I swear you are a writing machine! I don’t know how you manage to keep up with all the characters and worlds.

    So I know that you created Zavrekestan, so how did you come up with the names for the characters, like Rodion, that live there? Are they names that you created or something that you researched?


    • Hi Rae!

      Lol, I’m definitely not efficient enough to be a machine, but I do spend a lot of time writing. (My house is a mess, my kids are feral, my husband has that lean and hungry look :)).

      I largely used Russian names or almost-Russian, since Zavrekestan is meant to be ex-Soviet. Rodion and Kosar are both Russian names. I made the language similar to Russian too – although I believe some such republics have a language more similar to Turkish… Complicated part of the world :).


  11. How important is your heritage to you? Do you embrace your family

  12. What


  14. If you could choose one paranormal gift for yourself, what would it be and why?

    Oh wow – this changes daily as I find neat and interesting gifts out there through reading and research.

    In some ways I would love to have this one skill a character has – she has healing ability but only for the mind. Sounds strange but I thought it wounded so neat. So if someone experiences a trama they cannot get over she’d have sessons until the mind heals enough for the person to start living again

    Then in this world my friend and I are creating we have something called a bas-druii – they are a being that lives in both the living and dead. They foresee death and rebirth.

  15. Answer the Author’s Question – What

    • Hi Cathie – I know, seems ages since I’ve spoken to you!

      Yes, Tarot can be interesting, can’t it? ~One of my friends used to read them for her friends, and just used them as a guide to certain aspects of us that she already knew :). Anothe friend reads them seriously, to the extent that a reading exhausts her physically and mentally.Maybe a connection’s a mixed blessing :).


  16. These are awesome questions!

    Answer the Author’s Question – How important is your heritage to you? Do you embrace your family

  17. Hi Marie

    I always look forward to your books and this new series looks great. So many great books and authors this week at BBB. I have surgery in 10 days and if I can get all the books I will be well stocked for my recovery.

    • Hello again, Koren! Somehow I missed this comment of yours last night – so sorry! Just want to wish you luck and a speedy recovery from your surgery – and lots of good books to help, of course :).

      Thanks for the kind words too – glad to know!


  18. I’m having too much fun so I don’t want to leave, LOL!

    Answer the Author’s Question – If you could choose one paranormal gift for yourself, what would it be and why?

    Actually to hear again is not one of them! I do enjoy the silence 😀 I could of used eyes in other rooms when my children were young, LOL. I do hate to travel, so for me, I would love to be able to do that in record time! I so always wanted to go to Scotland and London England, but I hate flying and the lengths so I would like to be like I dream of Jeanie and just cross my arms and go where I want to! LOL (but honestly!)

    Cathie M.

  19. If you had to do a collaboration, but could choose anyone to work with and any topic to write about, Who and what would you choose?

    • Hmmm, good question, Koren!

      I do enjoy my collaborations with Bonnie Dee on our Fairytale Fantasies series, so I’ll stick with that :). A new collaboration would take a lot of thought, so if I thought of another, I’ll come back to you :).


  20. hi MArie, love your book cover 🙂

  21. How important is your heritage to you? Do you embrace your family

  22. If you could choose one paranormal gift for yourself, what would it be and why?

    HEALTH, there is nothing worse than being w/o it.

  23. Oooh looks like a fun release party! Congrats on the new book! 😀

  24. Which character is the hardest to write? Thanks for the giveaway!1

    • Hmmm, I don’t know, Donna! Most of my main characters come pretty easily – the story grows out of them.

      I suppose making secondary characters interesting is the hardest part. You don’t want to care for them so much that they take over; on the other hand if you don’t care for them enough, they can be too boring :).


  25. Oh my fire starter and rebel! YUMMY THIS BOOK LOOKS FANTASTIC!!

  26. When in your writing do you decide upon the setting?

  27. I like the country you’ve chosen to set your story in. It’s different and when you add in the paranormal elements it gets even more interesting. The setting is one of the thing that appeals to me about your book 🙂

  28. I like this question! One of the strangest paranormal gift I’ve heard of is being able to travel back in time. I’ve always imagined what life is like in historical times and there are so many things that have happened, it would be surreal to be able to experience it.

  29. My heritage is important to me and I do embrace it. I like knowing about my culture and celebrating the many things about it. It makes me connect more with my family and I want to pass it on to future generations.

    I would also, definitely love to have the power to time-travel, and be able to return to the present easily.

  30. Well, it’s heading for midnight here, so I’m going to grab a few hours sleep while you carry on partying, and I’ll catch up in the morning! See you then 🙂


  31. This world sounds amazing!

  32. I love the name Nell, and her story sounds intriguing! Thanks for the giveaway!

  33. Your new series sounds like such a great read. Thanks for the giveaway.

    • LOL, that’s a fab gift! Must track down the book :).

      Sounds like a very healthy attitude to heritage, Rae!

      Oh dear, sounds like you NEED to be a self-healer! I admit I’m intrigued to know some of your stunning injuries, but part of me’s afraid to ask! At least until you can get hold of this gift, PLEASE take care!


  34. Staci aka Patches

    I loved this premise.
    Is this from WWll when all the testing was done?? LOLOL Well that is the rumor?

    I look forward to reading this.

    • Hi Staci – thank you!

      No, I didn’t actually see this happening because of WWII or later, testing. I imagined this country, and this village in particular, had always been rich in such gifts, but because it was so poor and isolated and outwardly uninteresting, no one really noticed! Until our own age of globalization, of course, when I’m not sure it would be possible to keep such a secret for much longer!


  35. Is there an artist you’d love to do a cover for one of your books?

    • Hmmm, interesting question, Bethany! At the moment, I’m really happy with Kimberly Killion, who’s done all my self-published covers – Blood Guilt, Serafina and the Silent Vampire and now Smoke and Mirrors, so I’m not looking much further.

      I also really like some of the cover artists at Samhain. And I do have an artist friend who has a really quirky view of the world – I’d love her to do one. Although it might be more a case of me writing a book to suit her style :).

      Who’s your favourite cover artist?


  36. Besides anything to do with books what is your heart felt passion? And how do you go about naming your cacters? Thank you

    • Hi Rebecca!

      My husband and kids and my friends. And eating :). And sunshine…

      Characters’ names come in different ways. Sometimes the name pops into my head with the person; sometimes it comes to me later as I’m thinking more seriously about the story. Other times I pour over lists of names – especially for foreign characters like Rodion Kosar – until I find a name that suits.


  37. Congrats on the release! 🙂

    What was your favourite scene to write and why?

    • Thanks, Winnie!

      I enjoyed writing most of this book to be honest – it all seemed to happen very quickly! – but maybe my favourite scene is in the Zavrekestan nightclub where Rodion follows Nell through the shadows until he has the chance to approach her un-noticed. It just seemed to have all my favourite things – romance, mystery, sexual tension, and a kind of noir atmosphere of danger and a little sleeze. Or at least, those are what I was aiming at :).


  38. This sounds like a great read! Adding it to my TBR immediately! Thanks for the giveaway!

  39. Sounds different witch is so cool love something different .adding to my list of book to read.Glad your here to tell us about it!

  40. If you could choose one paranormal gift for yourself, what would it be?
    It would be healing the help that you could give to the people in the world would be so great.

  41. What great fun as an author to make up new countries. The old Soviet Union was such a bed of corruption great source of inspiration for many books.

    • Hi Ann,

      Yes, I confess it is great fun :). My idea for Zavrekestan is that it was more or less ignored by the old Soviet Union until it declared and fought for its independence as some of the republics did in the era of Gorbachev and Yeltsin. And it was an invading Russian soldier who noticed the peculiarity of the village in general, and of Rodion in particular. And so the secret could be out… :).


  42. This book is on my TBR. Is there a set number of books or just write when the next story presents itself?

  43. What was your favorite childhood book/series?

    • Hi Dovile!

      I think it was probably Little Women and the sequels. Also loved Enid Blyton when I was little and Malcolm Saville when I was a little bit older. But I remember reading adult books from fairly on – there wasn’t much in the way of Young Adult fiction in those days!

      What were your favourites?


  44. Have you ever written fan fiction? For what fandom?

  45. I think an ability to see or talk to ghosts is a really strange paranormal girt.

  46. I’m very interested in my heritage, because I know so little anything beyond my parents’ histories. Both my granddads have passed away way before I was even born, and I’ve never been very close to my grandmothers while they were alive, so I now have only a few photos and stories that they told me. As far as I know there are no blue bloods in my family line, almost definitely not on my mother’s side, although my dad’s dad had a more interesting life story which I intend to try and follow up someday.

    • I think it’s a shame sometimes that we only get interested in our family’s past once there’s hardly anyone left to tell us about it. I had an interesting experience talking to my cousin a few weeks ago – we both knew different things that the other didn’t about our grandparents’ generation.

      Good luck with your research!


  47. If I could choose a paranormal gift, I’d like to be able to cast spells, because magic is so cool:)

  48. Hi Marie!

    I love the sound of this book, the world sounds cool and so many characters with abilities! I just check out the book, it’s currently available in e-book format only right now, will you be publishing a paperback any time soon?

    • Great, Van – thank you!

      I’m afraid I have no immediate plans to bring it out in paperback. Is this a problem for you? So many people now have e-readers of one kind or another that it’s too easy to forget about those who don’t!


      • I actually don’t own an E-reader. I use to read e-books on my laptop but it’s not the same as a book in hand, and when staring at the computer so long…my eyes started to get strained lol. I’ve been thinking about picking one up, because I know I’m missing out on a lot of great books/authors…example Smoke and Mirrors!

        I’m determine to read this book!! Hope you have a great weekend 🙂

        • No, I don’t find reading on a computer screen very comfortable either. An ebook reader is at least sort of book sized :). I do still love physical paper books too, but I’d miss my e-reader now – especially when travelling – and I can definitely recommend investing in one. There are indeed loads of great ebooks around these days, and many at very reasonable prices. Good luck with it! Did you enter the contest next door? :).

          Thanks, Van – have a wonderful weekend too!


  49. Just wanted to tell you the book is now on my wishlsit – couldn’t resist psychic powers mixed with crime, spies and Goddesses 😀

  50. Hi and thanks for visiting.

    If you could go back to the beginning, would you change anything? plot line, character anything like that?

    • Hi Elie – thank you, it’s great to be here!

      Good question! At the moment, I don’t think I would. The story’s too new to me still and I haven’t had a lot of feedback yet. But I’m sure in time, I’ll ITCH to change something – maybe lots of things 🙂


  51. Hi Marie!

    So if you had to be roommates with one of your characters, who would be the best and who would be the worst?? 🙂 lol kind of silly but I thought it would be fun to ask!

    • Hi Andra!

      Yikes, difficult questions! I suppose it would depend on my mood. I think Nell from SMOKE AND MIRRORS would be quite peaceful but still fun when you needed it. Life would be constantly exciting – maybe too exciting! – around Rodion…besides think of all that male temptation :). I’ll go for Nell!

      Worst roommate…Marenko the Assassin?

      🙂 Marie

  52. The series sounds very interesting! I’m intrigued especially by the grumpy fire goddess. 🙂

  53. Hi Marie,

    I’m definitely a fan, although I may have to admit it’s for your books under Ellora’s signature than the current. But, having read your blurb, Smoke and Mirrors has piqued my interest and is on the TBR list.

    • Hi Biki,

      Glad you’re a fan of my Ellora’s Cave books! They were fun to write too! And good to know SMOKE AND MIRRORS has made it on to your TBR :). Thanks for coming!


  54. The strangest paranormal gift? Hmm, something like creating cheese or a food byproduct? LOL, I watch way too many cartoons.

    Heritage is very important. I think you can’t make an impression unless you know a bit about your past and merge the two to the best of your desires. Overall, I like to respect the past and the traditions but try to live in the present.

    I would love the opportunity to be able to transport myself (and others) to anywhere I can see or place myself. I know they all have to have some restrictions so I gave a few there, lol.

  55. This sounds like my type of series. Any idea of how many books you could do in this series and what is the weirdest type of power that you included in this series. I may have to buy this one lol

    • Go on, Pam, you know you want to :).

      I have a plan for three books in the series so far, although I think the opportunity’s there for more books if readers and myself stay interested!

      Weirdest power so far? Hmmm, probably the girl who can alter the density of elements so she can effectively create forcefields and walk through walls. Or her brother who can hear the thoughts of dogs :). But sometimes it’s not so much the gift that’s weird as some quirky aspect of it – like the healer who sees the face of the Guardian spirit (aka goddess) in the wounds he’s healing.

      Thanks for asking, Pam!


  56. the strangest gift i’ve heard of is a patterner which mean you can see and affect patterns in the world. Strange and unique.

  57. I’d love to have the capability to control the air. I could fly with that lol.

  58. The older I get the more my heritage I want to know about. I have serveral of my family members on both sides that traced our heritage way back. I need to make arrangements to get copies of their pics and docs.

    • Isn’t it funny how people get more interested in that stuff as they get older? And yes I would definitely get copies – the more there are, the more easily preserved for future generations to know about, I think.


  59. I am definitely going to purchase your book.

  60. I have to say you always have the best stories!! Do you think living in such a magical place helps the creative juices? I love your books!

    • Aw, thank you, Joani! What a nice thing to say :).

      Well, I am influenced by my surroundings, and Scotland has its fair share of eerie and atmospheric places, along with a very long and rich history. But life is pretty “normal” here too :). Which is maybe why my Scottish heroine in SMOKE AND MIRRORS finds the magic in her mother’s heritage not her father’s Scotland.


  61. How important is your heritage to you? Do you embrace your family

  62. Have you ever been to the military tattoos in Edinburgh? I’ve seen some videos of that and it looks pretty cool!

    • Actually, I never have, but I believe it is very impressive to see live. The closest I came was as a kid when my parents brought me to Edinburgh from Glasgow to see the castle – I was well into history even as a child! – and they wouldn’t let visitors in because they were preparing for the tattoo in the evening!


    • Exactly, Joani! Nell in SMOKE AND MIRRORS has dreams which could foretell the future – or one possible future – or might be of the past or even the present. She has no definite way of knowing!


  63. If you could choose one paranormal gift for yourself, what would it be and why?

    That’s a hard one. I would like to be able to heal, either myself or others too. But being able to teleport myself to anywhere and heck even anytime would be pretty sweet!

  64. Congrats on the release! I thought it was a great story and am looking forward to more.

  65. How many books do you work on at a time, either editing, writing or marketing?

    • Good question! It depends on what needs to be done. I usually only work on WRITING one book at once (the exception being my collaboration with Bonnie Dee on our Fairytale Fantasies series – then my solo project gets interspersed with chapters of fairytales :)).

      But while I’m writing, I may have to interrupt that with editing or promoting. Right now, I’ve just finished writing a book, which works in quite well with the release of SMOKE AND MIRRORS, lets me concentrate on promotion for a week or so. However, I’m itching to write something new now, and I’m expecting edits of my next book any day!


  66. Will there be any more books in the “Awakened By Blood” series?

    • Hi Lisa!

      I began a new spin-off series from the Awakened by Blood trilogy – Blood Hunters, which continues the story, only from the vampire hunters’ points of view. BLOOD GUILT is out already (about the hunter Mihaela and the vampire Maximilian), and BLOOD OF ANGELS should be out in January. Elizabeth and Saloman appear in both of them, and their on-going story is still crucial to the plot.

      Oh these are ebooks only, by the way – only

  67. What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

  68. Any plans for a YA series in your future?

    • No, not as such. I know YA has become wildly popular with more than just young adults. On one hand, I like to think young adults can read my books if they want to and it’s right for them; on the other, since my books can be pretty steamy, I don’t want to get into issues of what is and isn’t suitable for “young adults” :).


  69. How important is your heritage to you? Do you embrace your family

  70. If you could choose one paranormal gift for yourself, what would it be and why?

    The ability to freeze time so I could read all the books on my shelfes on TBR list

  71. Stephanie s from USA

    Can’t wait, it sounds like a good read! I’ll add Nell and rodion to my tbr list. Thanks!

  72. Do you write in any other genres?

  73. Hi Marie! Thanks for coming by BBB. I’m curious about how you write about Edinburgh and other Scotland locations — do you invent the buildings and streets that you need for the story? Or do you stick with what’s really there?


    • Hi Alana! Pleasure to be here :).

      It depends on the story. Some places I invent, others are really there. For example, in Smoke and Mirrors, the location of the police station and the street in which Nell and Rodion are shot at are real, but I made up the carpark and industrial buildings beyond to suit myself. Nell and her friend have a drink at Deacon Brodie’s, which is a well known Edinburgh pub. So I suppose like Rodion, I mingle the truth with the lies :).


  74. Re: How important is your heritage to you? Do you embrace your family

  75. My paranormal gift of choice would be perfect timing!

  76. i wish to visit Scotland soon……
    what are YOUR 3 MUST-SEE places for a new visitor????

    • Goodness, Cynthia, not sure I could come up with just 3! Especially not knowing what your interests are!

      But I’d say you should definitely visit the West Highlands for the amazing scenery – and you’ll find loads of other things to do while you’re there: castles, distilleries etc 🙂

      And you should visit Edinburgh, since it’s the capital city and is, besides, quite a beautiful city full of history and art.So is Glasgow, but then it’s my home city and I’m biased :).

      And you should probably go to the northern isles too – Orkney and Shetland…


  77. Thank you for giving such wonderful treats to your readers.

  78. When you are writing is it “get dressed and go to work” or just hang out in comfey clothes all day?

  79. What do you like to eat while writing?

  80. I don’t know about the weirdest but the most useful would be to be able to look into the future a little. You know, enough to see the lotto numbers. LOL. I think knowing how and or when someone is going to die would be the worst.

  81. My heritage seems to shift in importance depending on how nostalgic I’m feeling at the time.

  82. I would love to be able to speak without being misunderstood, and to understand what other people really mean.