Thursday, July 26, 2012

Luba Lesychn Theft by Chocolate Blog Tour with Giveaway and Guest Post

I am so excited to Luba Lesychn here to talk about Mystery, Mayhem, and Mayans in Museums in a Guest Post here at Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews.

Luba Lesychn is currently touring to promote her new release Theft by Chocolate a sassy museum mystery book.

For more information about the book, please visit the following sites:

Luba's Site and Blog
Attica Books (Publisher)

Thank you Attica Books and Luba Lesychn for letting me join your blog tour with a Giveaway, Guest Post.

Please take it away, Luba!

Mystery, Mayhem, and Mayans in Museums

The original concept for Theft By Chocolate, a sassy museum mystery about a woman of a certain age looking for chocolate, love, and an international art thief in all the wrong places, sprung from the lead character, Kalena Boyko, a hopeless chocolate addict. Setting her story in a museum came naturally to me as I had been employed in Canada’s largest museum for more than twenty years, and I wanted to share my privileged access to this awe-inspiring place with readers. As for the plot, it did not develop so easily at first.

The work began as a story of a woman going about her day-to-day duties as a museum administrator and routinely getting into trouble, à la Lucille Ball style, as she searched for her next chocolate fix. But seventy-five pages in and even I could see the tale was lacking a clear direction. However, while working in the museum’s consulting department and conducting some research on travelling exhibits, I chanced upon information on a touring show organized by Chicago’s Field Museum called “Chocolate.” As it happened, one of the exhibit’s signature artifacts was the world’s oldest piece of chocolate. This item of Maya origin seemed to have captured the public’s imagination and it was drawing tremendously huge crowds to institutions like the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Bingo!

A pathway had opened up for my novel, but I knew from my experience at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, that although the oldest piece of chocolate could attract large numbers in cities like New York, natural science exhibits were not traditionally the most lucrative “money shows” in cities like Toronto. What were sure-fire hits, not only in Canadian urban centers, but in international ones, were special exhibits featuring ancient cultures such as those of the Egyptians, the Inca, the Chinese – and the Maya. And seeing as the Maya invented chocolate, the various pieces of my plot finally began intersecting in a most satisfying way.

The complexity of the Maya culture is very intriguing to most of us, whether you are a child or adult. The fact that the Maya knew the Earth revolved around the sun long before western astronomers, that they had developed a sophisticated calendar based on an advanced understanding of the movement of stars and planets, that the construction of their monumental architecture still humbles modern architects, and that these people sacrificed human beings to their gods, keeps drawing millions of visitors, over and over again, to exhibits about the Maya and their universe.

During my time at the Royal Ontario Museum, we hosted a significantly large exhibit on the Maya, and the revenue generated probably carried the institution for at least a year or two. Intermittently, the ROM brings out its own impressive New World collections and very recently hosted and co-created another massive blockbuster, “Maya: Secrets of Their Ancient World,” in collaboration with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and Ottawa’s Canadian Museum of Civilization, where the exhibit is on display until the end of October, 2012. The Penn Museum in Philadelphia is home to another Maya exhibit, “Maya.2012 Lords of Time,” until January, 2013. And if you want to catch the exhibit that started it all for me and inspired Theft By Chocolate, it’s not too late. It just finished a stay in Hamilton, Ontario (the city where I was raised), and is currently at the Turtle Bay Exploratorium in Redding, California.

But to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what it’s like to mount a special exhibit of the magnitude of “Maya: Secrets of Their Ancient World,” Theft By Chocolate will give you a taste of this extremely challenging process. And it may spark some giggles and trigger some chocolate cravings all in one read.

Theft By Chocolate

Chocolate addict Kalena Boyko wasn’t prepared for this. Heading to work at Canada’s largest museum as an administrator, she hopes for quiet and uninterrupted access to her secret chocolate stash. Instead she’s assigned to manage the high-profile Treasures of the Maya exhibition with her loathed former boss, Richard Pritchard.

With no warning, her life is capsized and propelled into warp speed as she stumbles across an insider plot that could jeopardize the exhibit and the reputation of the museum.

After hearing about a recent botched theft at the museum and an unsolved jewel heist in the past from security guard and amateur sleuth Marco Zeffirelli, Kalena becomes suspicious of Richard and is convinced he’s planning to sabotage the Treasures of the Maya exhibition.

Her suspicions, and the appearance of the mysterious but charming Geoffrey Ogden from the London office, don’t help her concentration. The Treasures of the Maya seems cursed as problem after problem arises, including the disappearance of the world’s oldest piece of chocolate, the signature object in the exhibit.

Theft By Chocolate is inspired by a real-life and never-solved heist at a Canadian museum in the 1980s.

Author Info

Soon after finishing her graduate studies in history, Luba Lesychyn (le-si-shin) landed on the doorstep of Canada’s largest museum, the Royal Ontario Museum, where she worked for more than twenty years as an educator and consultant. Theft By Chocolate is Luba’s debut novel, though she has been amusing people with her writing since the age of eight. Her love of chocolate precedes this age and she has been in and out of chocolate rehab for most of her adult life. She currently works in the educational sector and teaches yoga in her home town of Toronto. When not writing or looking for her next chocolate fix, Luba can be found in dance classes, trekking to remote waterfalls in the mountain rain forest in Puerto Rico, running through the streets of Paris or doing any other number of calorie-burning activities that help offset the calories consumed in her chocolate intake.


Copy of Theft By Chocolate and $150 Certificate

There are two chances to win!

1) Copy of Theft By Chocolate as ebook or print copy (winner’s choice). Answer this question in the comments section (be sure to provide your email): What is your favorite museum and has there been an exhibit that will stay in your memory forever? In five days, a lucky winner from this blog will win a free copy of Theft By Chocolate!

2) $150 Gift Certificate Giveaway

Do you love chocolate as much as Kalena, the heroine in Theft By Chocolate? Here’s your chance to indulge in $150 US worth! The Giveaway Grand Prize is a gift certificate to a delectable chocolate online retailer. Winner chooses from one of three sites:, , or . To be eligible for the Grand Prize, enter the Rafflecopter below. Remember to sign up for Luba’s email announcements (worth five entries). On occasion she’ll send out exclusive announcements for special events, blog posts, giveaways and free swag! On July 31st, the winner will be chosen at random and notified via email.

Rafflecopter link:

1 comment:

  1. My favorite museum visit was SF MOMA on my birthday a few years back... I loved looking at a Kadinsky that sparked my emotion so much. Went I went back later it was in storage while they were redoing the 5th floor. I hope the painting will be back in the wall the next time I visit.