Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Jeannie Moon: Real Life Inspiration

I’m always asked, and it doesn’t matter where I am or with whom, if I base my characters and stories on real people or events.

The short answer is “no.” Most of the time. And that’s the honest truth.

There’s no way we can separate what we know from our writing.  Everything we do, the people we are, what we know, trickles into our writing.  There’s no avoiding it, but it’s never a direct path.
I enjoy the following story, and I think it speaks to what we do as authors.  We are great observers.  We are good listeners.  To break it down to its most simple, we’re spies.  And we’re watching all of you.

My husband and I went on vacation to Maine a few years ago and I loved everything about the visit. We stayed in the area known as the midcoast—specifically about an hour north of Portland in a beautiful place called Boothbay Harbor.  With the wonderful location, perfect weather and friendly people, we couldn't ask for more. The resort we stayed at was on the waterfront and wonderfully picturesque.  With its gorgeous flowers, rolling lawns and the stately main building, it’s exactly how I would have written a New England resort.

The purpose for the trip was to relax and spend some quality time with my husband, which I did.  We sampled the local food, explored new places and did some major decompressing.  Of course, I took pictures.

On Saturday, we were enjoying our lobster rolls at a wonderful waterfront restaurant when I pulled out my phone and took a couple of photos.

"What did you take pictures of?" he asked.

"Oh, nothing," I responded.

My darling husband grinned. "What just gave you an idea?" he wondered.  "The guys in the boat?"

That did it. I started laughing.  He knew the two rather rotund, shirtless, middle-aged men in a high-powered cigarette boat were going to be in a story someday.  It was an awesome scene...the men were flirting shamelessly with two twenty-somethings in bikinis and displaying as much bad taste as you would expect.  I saw all the potential in the scene and my husband knew it. He caught me mining for material.

But that brings up the idea that everything is material when you are a writer.  Every experience, every place, every person you meet can be stored away and drawn upon later.  My guys in the boat may not turn up for two or three or ten stories, but I'll always have the memory. And the pictures.

So, the short answer to the question everyone asks me about where I get my ideas is that I get my ideas from everything.  My mind is a vessel for memories and experiences. Writers use our surroundings—the people, the places, the sights and sounds—to bring our stories to life.

It’s what we do to transport the reader and when we do that, it’s a win for everyone.

Has something ever happened to you that made you want to write a book?  I’ll be giving away one digital book from my backlist to one lucky commenter.

The Second Chance Hero

Kim Torres didn't know if she'd ever love or trust anyone again, but Owen Kent wasn't going to give up on her without a fight.

Navy combat nurse Kim Torres knew it was a possibility. But she never thought it would happen. She never thought she would cut through a critically wounded Marine’s fatigues only to find her fiancé, Tom Albanese. She never thought he would die in her arms. Or that she’d collapse against his commanding officer when grief overtook her.

Fast forward one year, and Major Owen Kent has returned from Afghanistan to take his position as the billionaire CIO of Reliance Software. He’s happy to be home, and everything is business as usual–until he sees Kim Torres, the nurse he saw unravel in the Afghanistan hospital, the woman he could never quite get off his mind.

Now Kim is Harper Poole’s nanny, a job she took to get her mind off of her heartbreak, and although she doesn’t recognize Owen at a Memorial Day barbecue, she feels an instant attraction. Kim hasn’t felt this spark in so long, and Owen is the exact opposite of Tom, who wounded Kim’s heart in more ways than one. But can Kim find it within herself to love–and trust–again?

Role 3 Joint Forces Medical Facility
Kandahar, Afghanistan
Late June
Sometimes it was the quiet that got to her. Kim knew that if people were screaming, at least they were still alive. But now, there was nothing. Nothing except the hum of the equipment, the glare of the harsh lighting and the beating of her own heart.
Looking down at her gloved hands, her breath caught; her throat tightened. So much blood.
Tom’s blood.
She snapped the latex off her hands and threw it in with the other biohazards, then pressed her back against the wall. As she slid down, her arms folded over her middle. Holding in her heart, maybe? Her bleeding, breaking heart.
Her emotions started to close in, her eyes started to burn and she wondered if she would ever get the memories out of her head. If she would ever be able to see his face as it used to be. The boy next door. Her handsome Marine. Her love.
Usually, the team knew at least fifteen minutes before the inbound dustoff landed with wounded—especially when it was coming from that far out. Today, they didn’t have near that. They had five. Five minutes to prepare for men who were so gravely injured they shouldn’t have survived the flight.
The gurneys came crashing through the doors and they all had their jobs in the ER. Kim was ready for her patient—an alpha—the designation given to the patients with the most life threatening injuries. They knew he had a massive belly wound and burns on his neck and face. As bombs went, this one was a widowmaker.
Kim remembered descending on the patient with scissors, cutting off the bandages applied in the field so they could get to the bleeding in his abdomen. If they could get that under control he had a chance. A slim one, but a chance. She hadn’t gotten far when the big man took a gasping breath and she heard the impossible.
Hoarse. Strained. “Kim.”
“Baby, look at me.”  It was barely a whisper, but the words were screaming in her head. Her eyes traveled away from the blood, hesitating for a moment over his chest where his name was displayed. Albanese. God. How had she missed it?  Again she took in every inch of him and when she got to his face, and looked in his dark eyes, she saw the pain, the fear, he was facing. And Kim knew they would be saying goodbye. Even as the doctors worked on him, she knew.
He was dying. And there was nothing anyone could do.
It seemed unimaginable. She and Tom were part of each other. Together since they were just kids, he went into the Marines after high school, she went into the Navy after nursing school. He gave her a ring.
The wedding was in six months.
His fingers found hers and he gripped them with desperation. He squeezed hard. Kim reached out and wiped away the tear tracking down his face. His breathing was more labored, shallower. And he was scared. So scared. She leaned in and kissed his temple.
“It’s okay,” she said softly. “I’m here.”
“I’m sorry. I love you. I’m so sorry.”
“I love you, too. It’s okay. It’s okay.”
But there was no response. The end rushed up. She could see he was losing his fight, his body convulsed, his eyes rolled back--then he flatlined.
The tone from the cardiac monitor numbed her brain, told her a truth she wasn’t ready to hear. Tom was gone.
There were no measures taken. No dramatic chest pounding. No paddles. The doctor called his time of death.
That’s when Kim turned and walked into the corridor. That’s where she was now and where she would likely stay, running over the last few minutes again and again.

Or, feel free to use the excerpt link: 

Buy Links:

Jeannie Moon has always been a romanic. When she’s not spinning tales of her own, Jeannie works as a school librarian, thankful she has a job that allows her to immerse herself in books and call it work. Married to her high school sweetheart, Jeannie has three kids, three lovable dogs and a mischievous cat and lives in her hometown on Long Island, NY. If she’s more than ten miles away from salt water for any longer than a week, she gets twitchy.  Visit Jeannie’s website at

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

So Sorry for the Apologetic Post ;-) by Jenny Gardiner

I used to play a lot of tennis, back before my crotchety knees and a few other rickety joints decided they weren't on board with the program and thus brought that fun to a screeching halt. I loved to play the game, but I found that I (and many of my cohorts on the courts) had the unfortunate habit of apologizing for every whiff. And trust me, I whiffed plenty. Apologies were so rife that I entertained the idea of designing a brand of women's tennis clothes called "Sorry!" I think my game would have shortened by a good fifteen minutes minus the redundant apologies.
I'm afraid women are particularly adept at excessive apologizing. Perhap it's a culturally-ingrained thing, hard to say. Although I doubt it's such a great character trait—it must speak to self-esteem issues for one to feel the need to do so too much. And while apologies at times are essential, I guess even more important would be forgiveness, a practice with which most of us aren't particularly skillful.
I've had forgiveness on the brain since hearing a philosophy- and ethics-themed program on National Public Radio the other day, in which two philosophers pondered when and where forgiveness is acceptable, or even essential. A man called the show and proclaimed that he'd decided recently that from here on out, he would neither forgive nor forget, because whoever the violator or perpetrator is suffers no consequences for their transgressions when you forgive them. The hosts suggested that forgiveness isn't actually for those who have done wrong, but rather for those who need to release their anger or sadness, to free their soul, and went on to speculate that the caller was merely imprisoning himself in a web of rage and resentment. Who's the loser in that scenario?
I can't help but agree. Forgiveness does free the soul, it does enable you to purge a world of misery, providing you're actually able to undertake the action for real, not simply pay lip service to it. I have been trying (when I remember to, once I stop being so angry!) to work on this skill. It is an action that needs some regular flexing, exercising those tools that aren't so capably used in our society. Say someone cuts you off in traffic. Of course you want to yell at him, perhaps even flip him off. But what if it was erroneous? Maybe he was having a bad day. Or his mother just died, or his wife left him. So many times I've judged someone for their ugly behavior, only to realize in hindsight that they had real reasons for what they did. Not good reasons, necessarily, perhaps nothing particularly justifiable, even. But understandable reasons behind their bad actions. Maybe instead of my ire, they needed my empathy. So with the wisdom of age, I'm trying to accept and respect that the middle-fingered digital salute isn't always the answer. Trust me, I'm a work in progress with this effort, and my genetically-honed temper often gets the best of me, despite my occasionally magnanimous intentions.
I read a great book about an Israeli man and a Palestinian man, both of whose fathers were murdered by the other's countrymen. For years they both festered with anger, desire for revenge, and untenable loathing. But independently they both grew to understand that this simmering toxicity didn't help them to live well, that it held them back, and only fueled irrational bitterness. Eventually they joined forces to work for a higher peace, to help troubled teens turn around, and to help their parents understand how they could all work together to solve their relational problems.
I think of a woman I'd read about once, whose son was murdered by another man. This woman chose to embrace her son's executioner, to take him in as her own. Now out of jail, he shares a life with her and operates under perhaps a genteel penitence through the grace of this woman's ability to forgive. What a remarkable level of serenity must lie beneath her to be able to do this. Maybe she proves that just as humans have the capacity to inflict the most abhorrent violence on others, so, too, do we have the ability to rise above the worst that life has to offer us. Perhaps only a select few ever discover that internal grace that can allow them to reach that level. It's certainly one we can all aspire to.
Lately, I can't help but be reminded of the many cases of young people who have disappeared in my neck of the woods in Central Virginia in the past several years, most —assumedly all —victims of unspeakable violence. And I wonder how we collectively could ever forgive those whose monstrous acts that stole beautiful young lives and left a ripple effect of destruction well beyond their immediate families. I don't know if forgiveness is possible. I don't know how to be so evolved as to be able to forgive such heinous acts.
But I hope and pray for the healing of all in this community and especially for the immediate families of these young victims, so that at some point perhaps we can access that place, if only not to corrode from the anger. I struggle to imagine how those parents could ever release the rage, the eviscerating grief, to let go of it and forgive a fellow human being who could perpetrate such ungodly acts upon their innocent child. It's beyond the scope of comprehension. But for those who have that ability in them, I don't doubt it makes life somewhat more livable.
Accidentally on Purpose (written as Erin Delany)
Compromising Positions (written as Erin Delany)
find me on Facebook: fan page
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find me on my website

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall Back in Time with Historical Romance on November 1st!

  On the weekend of November 1st--which is the end of Daylight Savings Time--more than 200 romance authors of the Historical Romance Network will be celebrating the diversity of historical romances by asking readers (all of you!) to show the world that we love and read historical romances. How do you do that? 

  Here’s all you need to do:

1. Take a selfie with a favourite/recently read Historical Romance.

2. Post it to social media sites starting on 10 am CST 1 November 2014. Please include the hashtag #FallBackinTime. If pictures start sneaking out on the 31st and continue through the 2nd that’s okay, too!

3. "LIKE" our Historical Romance Network facebook page and join the event on Nov. 1st!

4. Spread the word about our love for historical romance through tweets and facebook posts. Here are some generic tweets you can use:

#FallBackinTime to your first historical romance! This was mine: (pix)
#FallBackinTime with this historical romance! (pix)
#FallBackinTime Look, it’s me in the [middle ages/regency era/etc]
If I could #FallBackinTime, it’d be to this book, this era: (pix)
Where would you #FallBackinTime to? I'd go here: (pix)
My favorite time machine is a book. #FallBackinTime (pix)
Escape with a historical romance #FallBackin Time. I do! (pix)

Historical Romance Network social media sites:

And here's a flyer you can share on your FB page or wherever else you'd like....

So, I hope you ARE reading and loving historical romances and I hope you'll join us in celebrating them on November 1st!  But why wait, give me some hints about which ones are your favorites? 

As you can see from the flyer, Jo Beverly's The Shattered Rose is one of my favorites! 

Terri is working on the second in her upcoming NOVELS OF THE STONE CIRCLES series for NAL - RAGING SEA will follow RISING FIRE in 2015. Visit her website or FB page or page for lots more info! 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Kendall Talbot: Learning to Survive

When a small plane crashes into Australia’s Kakadu National Park, the survivors think they’re lucky to be alive, until rescuers never come.

Lost In Kakadu, winner of Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year (RUBY) offers a survival theme, fabulous Australian setting, secrets, grief, adventure, and of course a happy ending, what more could you want? Lost in Kakadu is also the only romance ever to be set in Kakadu National Park, some 20,000 hectares of virgin Australian bush.

I did many crazy things while researching this book. I hiked in our sweltering Australian bush until my blisters almost needed their own postcode. I ate witchetty grubs that I dug from my garden, not only so I could describe their weird texture and nutty flavour but also so I could see what they did when I tossed them onto a hot pan. I made slingshots with my bras and actually hit the target a few times. I sat in the bush in the pouring rain and smelt the damp leaves, listened to the raindrops filtering through the foliage and tasted tree sap straight off the bark. I also experimented with baked beans, flour, coffee and sugar until my family complained I was torturing them. You’ll have to read the book to understand why. I did many other things that had my family assessing my sanity. But it was all worth it.

My leading lady is a pretentious socialite, and learning to live in such a brutal environment takes her to shattering point. But as the weeks thread into months her Botox fades, her makeup runs out and the physical labor shapes her body into a lean sensual figure she’s proud of. As she gathers the pieces of her sanity she discovers a new woman within her who's not afraid to wield an axe or eat snails in order to survive. The pompous façade disappears and a strong, passionate and resourceful woman emerges with a wicked sense of humor and a fierce determination to live.

Have I enticed you enough to buy my book? It’s costs less than a cup of coffee, and will last much longer.  Click on the links below to purchase:

If you crashed into the jungle, what’s the one thing you couldn’t live without? For a chance to win a free eBook of Lost In Kakadu, leave a comment below.
Winner will be announced after 25th October on my facebook page: 

You can find out more about my crazy life at Or on twitter: kendallbooks

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lauri Robinson: Happy Birthday!

To me. Today, October 18th, is my birthday. I’m the seventh of eight children, six boys and two girls. When my parents learned they were expecting again, my father told the doctor to make sure this one was a girl. (My sister is eleven years older than me.) The doctor then gave my mother pre-natal vitamins (tablets that were half blue/half pink) and told her to swallow the pink end first. Until the day he died, my father claimed he wasn’t surprised I was a girl.

He wasn’t ‘big’ on being surprised.

I inherited that from him.

Picture explanation—this was taken at my granddaughter’s birthday. Our family is ‘big’ on birthday parties and everyone is expected to dress accordingly. That year it was a princess party, I was dressed as a snow queen. I believe this picture was snapped when the cake almost hit the floor. 

This year I plan on celebrating quietly. Dinner out is all I need. I’ve had the big parties. The pajama parties when I was young. Years later, the ones where it hurt to open my eyes the next morning. After that came the sentimental ones, like the time my hubby and sons forgot about the ice cream cake on the backseat of the van. And then there were the surprise parties. Oh, who could forget them? As if hitting those monumental BIG O’s wasn’t enough.

I’ve had three such events. Three. Not to scorn the people who worked so hard to pull them off, but to be frank, I loathe surprise birthday parties. The last one, just two years ago, I innocently agreed to ride to town for a short errand, only to end up in a banquet room (my sons and their wives went all out) in comfortable clothes—which means nothing was being held in or up—and no make-up, surrounded by a horde of people ready to party the night away. I didn’t even have my glasses so couldn’t read the cards everyone else was laughing their behinds off while reading. (My youngest drove home and got my glasses for me, bless his heart.)

To me, surprise parties are like that moment when you step out of the shower and discover someone else in the bathroom. Startled, you attempt to jump back over the rim of the tub and get tangled in the shower curtain. The rod lets loose, hitting your head before the sharp metal end lands on your big toe, right after it managed to hit the water knob—the cold one—which blasts you in the face.

That is exactly how I feel when entering a room full of people shouting, “Surprise!” Like a turtle on its back, arms and leg flaying. Butt naked.

In the bathroom you ultimately come to the realization the other person isn’t a mass murderer ready to stab you with a kitchen knife, it’s just your husband looking for the dental floss. However, at the party, you’re stuck with people describing their impression of how your face looked when you entered the room. Or sharing the pictures they’d snapped like the one above. (That one made its debut on facebook before the party was even over.)

Don’t get me wrong, the birthday parties have all been fun. I feel blessed to have such a thoughtful family and honored so many chose to celebrate birthday milestones with me. BUT, I have told my family, no more surprise parties.

On the other hand, I like small surprises. A bouquet of flowers, or unexpected phone call. A REAL letter in the mailbox. Finding money in the dryer, or in a coat pocket you haven’t worn for years.
My hubby is good at little ones. While I was in Texas this summer for the RWA conference, I discovered an envelope in an obscure zipper of my suitcase (one of those top one you never use). It held a Hershey’s Kiss and a sweet note saying he hoped I was having fun. Along with a post-it note that said, “Go shopping” stuck to a hundred dollar bill. (Yeah, he’s good at little surprises and knows me well.)

I love those kinds of surprises. It’s the caught-naked-with-nothing-but-a-shower-curtain ones I don’t like.    

How about you? Do you like to be surprised or not?

The heroine, Marie Hall, in The Wrong Cowboy which will be released November 1st, isn’t fond of surprises, but is determined to do anything for the six children in her care.

Here’s a short snippet when she meets Stafford Burleson—not Mick Wagner as she’d expected:

Tipping the edge of his hat back, and giving her a very penetrating stare from eyes that looked to be as gray as a storm cloud, the man acted as if he wasn’t going to answer her questions.
Marie’s nerves started jumping faster than the grasshoppers the twins had been chasing. She’d been charging things in Mr. Wagner’s name since leaving Chicago. Soon the bills would be more than she’d be able to repay. That wasn’t her major concern—the children were—but with each day that passed, their financial situation had started to trouble her more and more.
Finally, when the air in her lungs had built up a tremendous pressure from his stare, Mr. Burleson said, “I’m here to take you to Mick’s place.”
It wasn’t the answer she’d expected, but her sigh was so long she wondered if her toes had been holding air. When it was all out, she nodded. “Well, thank you. We’ve been expecting he’d send someone.” In truth she’d been praying Mick Wagner would come to collect them, or send someone, but she’d never allow the children to know she’d been worrying about the outcome of their adventure.
The man nodded. “We can head out in an hour.”
“An hour?” Still shaky with relief, it took Marie a moment to process his statement. Her thoughts shifted to everything that needed to be done before they left, and she shook her head. “That’s not possible. We’ll leave tomorrow morning.”
Mr. Burleson’s stormy eyes glared again. “We’ll leave in an hour.”
“No, we won’t.” She spun about, gestured to the children. “Gather your playthings. It’s time to return to our hotel rooms.”
They minded without question, for once, and she turned back to the man. “We’ll be ready to leave tomorrow morning, after breakfast.”
“It’s barely noon,” he said. “We can get a good number of miles under our belt yet today.”
“Tonight is bath night, Mr. Burleson,” she said, holding her ground. When it came to the children and their needs she’d argue until the sun set—dealing with the solicitor back in Chicago had taught her to not back down. No matter how frightening it was. “I will not have the children’s schedule upset.”
“You will not—”
“That’s correct,” she interrupted. “I will not.” No good nursemaid would, and she was the best nursemaid that had ever come out of Miss Wentworth’s training course. The owner herself had said as much. Marie had a document that proclaimed it in writing. She’d used it as a testimonial when interviewing for positions. Not that she’d need it anymore. Abandoning the Meeker children was something she’d never do. That’s what she’d told Mr. Phillips, the solicitor, back in Chicago, as well as several other people who’d suggested such a thing. She’d been hired as their nursemaid, and she would fulfill her duties.
The children had gathered around again, holding their toys and looking at her expectantly. So was Mr. Burleson. With so much to do, Marie couldn’t waste any time. “You can see to the hotel bill and the train fares, Mr. Burleson, and then bring the wagon around. A large number of our possessions can be loaded this afternoon.”
“Hotel bill? Train fares?”

Marie and Stafford are in for several more surprises before their story ends.

I have two advance copies of The Wrong Cowboy to give away. Just leave a comment telling me about one of your best—or most startling—surprises to be entered in the drawing. There may be a little something extra that goes along with the books. (One thing I didn’t mention is that I do like instigating surprises. I inherited that from my father, too. April Fool’s Day was his favorite.) Be sure to include your email address along with your comment. Our wonderful host, Lee, will randomly draw the winners and their names will be posted at the bottom of this post.

Thanks for joining me here today! If you’d like to, I’d be honored to connect with you elsewhere:

***Lauri's winner is erin!  Please email with your mailing details!***

Friday, October 17, 2014

Character Pets: Nova and Virtus from Jill Archer’s Noon Onyx Series

The Noon Onyx stories are set in a dark world. Armageddon is over and the demons won. Although this post-apocalyptic world is far from perfect, beauty, goodness, light, and love still exist.

From the beginning, I wanted to create a dramatic, unique world where my main character could experience moral conflicts, solve intellectual puzzles, fight deadly monsters, and fall in love. In fact, the stories are as much about Noon’s relationships with other characters as they are about her academic challenges and off-campus adventures.

Two characters that were especially fun to write about were the four-footed ones: Nova and Virtus.
Nova is Noon’s barghest. Telling you that is somewhat of a spoiler because Noon doesn’t adopt Nova until the end of White Heart of Justice, but if you haven’t read the books yet, I’m betting you need a little encouragement and maybe this post will pique your interest. :-)

What the heck is a barghest?

It’s a goblin dog – a hellhound – from British folklore. Other names for it are the Demon of Tidworth, the Black Dog of Winchester, the Padfoot of Wakefield, and the Barghest of Burnley. Its appearance is considered incredibly unfortunate. It often portends death. It has fiery eyes, huge teeth, and razor-sharp claws. In other words, this is not a dog you want to curl up on the couch with.

But all of this means that a barghest is the ideal companion for Noon. (She’s training to be a demon peacekeeper; poodles, pugs, even pit bulls weren’t going to be tough enough to hang with her). She doesn’t need a dog you can curl up with. She needs a loyal monster who’s not afraid of rogare demons!

And what about Virtus? Who’s he?

Virtus was actually introduced a book earlier than Nova, in Fiery Edge of Steel. He’s a resplendent feline beast – an “exotic” tiger who lives in a land where most of the dangerous creatures are demons. He belongs to Fara Vanderlin, a Guardian Angel who becomes one of Noon’s close friends.

Virtus (which is Latin for courage, btw) is strong and sleek. Looks-wise, he is everything Nova is not. Nova has grub-laced gums, horrible breath, and mangy fur, whereas Virtus has pearly-white teeth, a glossy pelt, and bright eyes.

Do Nova and Virtus get along?

Ha! Now revealing that really would be a spoiler. For now, I’ll simply echo Noon’s thoughts on their first meeting (see the excerpt below – Ivy is Noon’s roommate and Fitz is Ivy’s cousin; they’re all good friends).

If you are interested in reading more about barghests, check out these links:

If you are interested in reading more about my pets (who also served as partial inspiration for Virtus and Nova), check out these links:

I’m giving away a signed set of Noon Onyx novels – all three books: Dark Light of Day, Fiery Edge of Steel, and White Heart of Justice. U.S. only due to mailing costs. Leave a comment, answer any of my questions, or ask your own to enter to win. 

Do you have pets? Dogs? Cats? Something more exotic?
Who is your favorite four-footed character?
What neat monster out of myth or folklore do you think would make a good pet?

Thank you, Lee, for inviting me to guest blog today!

Excerpt from White Heart of Justice
“I saw you got a dog,” Fara said.
I bristled. “A barghest.” As if anyone would mistake a barghest for a dog . . . I knew Fara was teasing though. She loved to try to get a rise out of me and I loved her for it. My mock frown turned into a grin, but quickly disappeared when both Ivy and Fitz started shouting at once. Ivy wanted to make it absolutely clear that she would not, under any circumstances, sleep next to a barghest. She’d just gotten used to Virtus, Fara’s tiger, and now she was expected to live with a barghest?! Besides, no barghest would even fit in Room 112 of Megiddo. Where on earth was I going to keep it?
“Her, not it,” I corrected. “Her name’s Nova.”
“Nova,” Fara said, amused. “That’s cute.”
Fitz, on the other hand, just wanted to make it absolutely clear that I could not, under any circumstances, allow anyone else but him to dog sit.
“She’s not a dog,” I cried, groaning.
“I wonder how she’ll get along with Virtus,” Fitz said. We all looked at each other, eyebrows raised, considering—and then we burst out laughing. Their first meeting wouldn’t be dull, that’s for sure.


Noon Onyx has been accepted into the prestigious St. Lucifer’s Law School where her mother hopes she’ll be trained as a Maegester. But Noon doesn’t want to control demons, set fires, or destroy things. She wants to become a Mederi so she can grow gardens and heal people.

Noon's best friend, Peter Aster, is an Angel spellcaster who thinks he has the answer to Noon's predicament - an ancient, mysterious, lost spell that can turn Noon into the Mederi she always wanted to be. Only one person stands in the way of Noon's dream - Ari Carmine, a fellow classmate who seems fascinated by Noon's fiery side.

Noon Onyx is the first woman in memory to wield waning magic. Her unique abilities, paired with a lack of control and reluctance to kill, have branded her as an outsider from her peers. Only her powerful lover, Ari Carmine, and a roguish and mysterious Angel, Rafe Sinclair, support her unconventional ways.

When Noon is shipped off to a remote outpost to investigate several unusual disappearances, it seems Luck is not on her side. But when the outpost settlers claim that an ancient and evil foe has stepped out of legend to commit the crimes, Noon realizes that she could be facing something much worse than she ever imagined…

After years of denying her abilities, Noon Onyx, the first woman in history to wield waning magic, has embraced her power. She’s won the right to compete in the prestigious Laurel Crown Race.

Noon’s task, however, is nearly impossible: retrieve the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword that disappeared hundreds of years ago. The sword is rumored to be hidden in a dangerous region of Halja that she is unlikely to return from.

But Noon’s life isn’t the only thing hanging in the balance. The sword holds an awesome power that, in the wrong hands, could reboot the apocalypse – and Noon is the only one who can prevent Armageddon from starting again.

Jill Archer writes dark, genre-bending fantasy from rural Maryland. Her novels include Dark Light of Day, Fiery Edge of Steel, and White Heart of Justice. She loves cats, coffee, books, movies, day tripping, and outdoor adventuring.

Discussion Questions:

***Jill's winner is traveler!  Please email with your mailing details!***

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Laura Childs: An Interview with... Me!

Wherein Laura Childs interviews herself and asks all those pressing questions she’s dying to answer.

Okay Laura, tell us how you got started in writing.

I wrote a short story called George the Ghost when I was six, then kind of went on from there.  I told campfire stories, wrote plays and poetry, worked on school papers.  After college I was a writer/producer at several national ad agencies and then took the big plunge and headed my own ad agency for 20 years.

But what about fiction writing?

Since I’d written so many radio and TV scripts in the ad biz, I started writing screenplays.  When that didn’t pan out (I was optioned but never produced), I switched to writing novels.  Kaboom – they took off like wildfire.

You write three different series.  Did you set out to make them all a series?

Oh, absolutely.  Once you create a cast of characters and a fun place for them to inhabit, you want to keep expanding your concept.  Case in point, I’m writing my 13th Scrapbooking Mystery and outlining my 17th Tea Shop Mystery.

When you start a book, do you always know the title and the basic plot?

Always.  If I don’t have a title and key character names figured out, I can’t start the book – I’m totally befuddled.  And I always create an extensive outline.  First on a large sheet of paper (with suspects color coded), then I transfer it to my computer and take it to about 85 pages.

How do you feel about the term “cozy mystery?”

I love it.  Because that’s exactly what my books are – sort of bloodless, feel-good mysteries that you can curl up with and enjoy.  But I have to say, I’ve long since been sneaking in much faster pacing to my novels, and incorporated double murders, multiple plot lines, and elements of thriller writing.  I even coined the term “thrillzy,” which has been picked up in interviews I’ve done with Publishers Weekly and several major newspapers.

What’s next for Laura Childs?

A 4th series – a brand new sharp-edged thriller series that I’m writing under my real name of Gerry Schmitt.  The first book is titled Finders Creepers and features Afton Tangler, a single mom and Outward Bound enthusiast.  As a liaison for the Minneapolis Police Department, Afton gets pulled into a bizarre, high-profile kidnapping.

Sounds great.

Believe me, it’s a nail biter.

Thanks so much, Laura.

Thank you, Laura.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a book from Laura!

Watch for Gossamer Ghost, Laura Childs’ brand new Scrapbooking Mystery with an October 2014 release.  And watch for Scorched Eggs, her new Cackleberry Club Mystery coming December 2014.

***Laura's winner is Connie!  Please email with your mailing details!***