Friday, July 29, 2011

Dishing it up with Robert Browne

Today I’m thrilled to be dishing it up with thriller writer extraordinaire Robert Browne.

Robert is an AMPAS Nicholl Award-winning screenwriter who ran screaming from the movie industry and jumped into writing novels.

His first novel, KISS HER GOODBYE, was recently produced in Chicago as a pilot for a CBS Television series tentatively titled THE LINE, by Sony Pictures and Timberman/Beverly Productions, with a script written and directed by Michael Dinner.

Before the jump, he developed screenplays for Showtime, Viacom, Saban/Fox Kids, Krost-Chapin, and Marvel. He was also staff writer for Fox Kids’ Diabolik, and a contributing screenwriter for Spider-Man Unlimited.

Post jump, Rob has written four thrillers for St. Martin’s Press in the U.S., Macmillan in the UK, Droemer Knauer in Germany, with books also published in Russia, Bulgaria and the Netherlands.

His books KISS HER GOODBYE (2007) and WHISPER IN THE DARK (2008 UK/2009 US), are critically acclaimed. proclaimed, “This is a writer whose name will soon be a household word” and Publisher’s Weekly gave WHISPER IN THE DARK a starred review: “The deeply satisfying story moves at a furious pace, packed with unexpected and original clues and plot twists.”

His third novel, KILL HER AGAIN, was released by Macmillan UK in May of 2009 and July in the U.S.

DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN was released in May, 2010 and has been nominated for a 2011 ITW Thriller Award.

His new thriller, THE PARADISE PROPHECY, was released on July 21, 2011.

JET: Can you tell us about the Paradise Prophecy?

Rob: The Paradise Prophecy is a big, edge-of-your-seat supernatural thriller about dark angels trying to take over the world and the two screwed-up mortals trying to stop them. It spans the globe from Brazil to Los Angeles, London, Istanbul and back, is full of exciting set pieces that scream make-me-a-movie, and will hopefully have you on the edge of your seat the entire time.

JET: What drew you to writing thrillers?

Rob: I grew up reading and watching thrillers. When I was a kid I watched all the Warner Brothers crime thrillers on TV and read every thriller I could get my hands on, including the Richard Stark Parker series and William Goldman's Magic and Marathon Man. I consider Marathon Man to be one of the greatest thrillers ever written. Goldman is smart enough to know that thrillers aren't just about plot mechanics. They have to have heart or emotion, and there's plenty of that in Thomas "Babe" Levy's life.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

Rob: Believing I could write a book. I became a "pro" through the publication of a short mystery story in EasyRiders magazine, believe it or not. Then I broke into the screenwriting world and wrote a ton of screenplays, never feeling I was quite ready to tackle my true love, novels. When I became disenchanted with Hollywood, I decided to finally try my hand at it and Kiss Her Goodbye was born. The irony, of course, is that despite my abandonment of Hollywood, they came calling a few years later, wanting to adapt the book for a TV series.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Rob: Well, besides getting the call telling me I'd sold Kiss Her Goodbye, it was standing on the set when they were filming the pilot and watching Dylan Walsh play a character I had created. Both of the worlds I loved had come together. It was quite a head trip.

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

ROB: I already mentioned Stark and Goldman, Stark being Donald Westlake, of course. I also loved his comedy mysteries. In fact, the first book of his I ever read was serialized in Playboy magazine, which I read when I was thirteen. I was also a huge fan of James Kirkwood and Newton Thornburg. Kirkwood wrote quirky slice of life stories and Thornburg wrote some of the most literate thrillers I'd ever read. Cutter and Bone is a masterpiece.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

Rob: When I read Westlake's novel in Playboy. It was a revelation to me and I knew at that moment that I wanted to tell stories for a living. To be able to keep a person glued to the page the way he did me, was to my mind the greatest thing in the world.

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

Rob: One of my books is a thriller about reincarnation called Kill Her Again. The male lead is a hypnotherapist who reluctantly delves into past-life regression in order to understand the visions that are plaguing the woman at the center of the story. In order to understand the process, I went to a hypnotist who specialized in past-life regression and had her put me under. It was an interesting experience. Mostly it was me doing what I do best—making stuff up—but it was fun.

The most interesting thing I think I've uncovered was when I was doing research for The Paradise Prophecy. I had never heard of the Codex Gigas—or Devil's Bible—before and I thought the legend surrounding it was fascinating. The book is about the size of a packing trunk and was allegedly written in a single day after the monk assigned to write it made a pact with the devil. Obviously, it was a perfect fit for The Paradise Prophecy. In fact, the entire mystery centers around the book's seven missing pages. And that's real. I didn't make it up.

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

Rob: I'll have to go with The Paradise Prophecy for a couple of reasons. It's my latest, and you always have high hopes for your latest, and it also signals a change for me. Not so much a change of direction. My books are all supernatural to some degree. But the size and scope of this novel is much broader than usual. It has a pretty large cast of characters, and covers a lot of ground. Raymond Khoury called it an epic and I think that applies. It certainly felt like one as I was writing it.

JET: Any advice for the novices out there?

Rob: The best advice I can give a novice is the same advice any pro will give: read a lot and write a lot. Always have a book with you and always be working on a book. It's really the only way you can learn. But equally important, I think, is don't be impatient. Learning the craft takes a long time and a lot of trial and error. Don't rush it. Eventually you'll get there.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with: Paper or Plastic?

Rob: Plastic. Only because of the handles.

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Rob: I have to make a choice? I love both.

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Rob: I grew up with the beach a few blocks away from me, but have never been a huge fan. I actually prefer mountains.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Rob: I lean toward rock-n-roll, but I've heard a few country songs I've loved. Just depends on my mood. My tastes are pretty eclectic.

JET: Paper or Digital?

Rob: Digital. I never print anything out.

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Rob: Again, both. I love movies in general. So much so that I'll even watch direct to DVD fare. Some of it is very good. I think the only thing I don't love is torture porn. Watching people get skewered or skinned alive doesn't do a whole lot for me.

JET: Coffee or Tea?

Rob: Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.

JET: Salty or Sweet?

Rob: Oh, boy. Once again: both. But I lean toward sweet.

JET: Top 10 best seller or Unknown Back Shelf Find?

Rob: Unknown back shelf. Especially if they were written in the fifties and sixties.

JET: 2012 Mayan Prophecy Believer or Ain’t Gonna Happen?

Rob: Not the Mayan Prophecy, but The Paradise Prophecy, which is coming July 21, 2011. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

JET: LOL. Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

Rob: The sequel to The Paradise Prophecy, of course… Oh, wait, that may have been a spoiler.

JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Robert Browne and his work at his website:

And if you haven’t picked up any of his books yet – what in the name of heaven are you waiting for?

Until next time,



Monday, July 25, 2011

Manic Monday with J.H. Bográn

Welcome to another Manic Monday! I’ve got fellow Backspacer, J.H. Bográn on tap with us today talking about the importance of location.

José, born and raised in Honduras, is the son of a journalist and he ironically prefers to write fiction rather than fact. José is the author of TREASURE HUNT, the first in the series of a professional thief who goes by the handle of The Falcon. He’s a contributing editor to The Big Thrill magazine; co-screenwriter for two TV serials and writes movie reviews for Honduran newspaper La Prensa.

He’s also a member of the International Thriller Writers.

So without further adieu, I'll hand it over to José...

Location; the “Where” of the story.

When you decide to undertake the writing of a novel or short story, one of the most important decisions to make is the location. You must know where the events of the story are going to happen.

The books considered “high-concept” usually have distant and/or exotic locations, and they are as much a part of the story as the protagonists themselves.

Think of it, can you imagine The DaVinci Code setting to be a rural small town in the mid-West? How would that location change the story?

Of course, locations don’t have to be real. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry doesn’t exist, although the convent where they filmed the movies is real; Peter Jackson had to settle with New Zealand because no GPS in the world could pinpoint the White City or Middle Earth; and last but not least, sci-fi and fantasy, the epitome of creating locations from the ground up.

I recently participated in an on-line chat where some of the participants pointed out how sci-fi/fantasy authors have to devout large amounts of time to create and properly describe the worlds in which they set their stories.

When I wrote the first draft of Treasure Hunt, I knew the story involved a small country with white-sanded beaches that attracted tourists, resorts with diving equipment and tours, Mayan ruins and a fair share of good roads for the car chases. Many countries have all of the above, included my native Honduras. However, I couldn’t use any of them because the geography didn’t match my plot as the locations had to be within one hour of driving. So, what did I do? I redrew the map and created a small country wedged between Honduras and Nicaragua and named it Nueva España. Location problem solved!

This audacity earned many raised eyebrows when I launched the book in my hometown. I got comments along the lines of: how come the place feels and smells like Honduras but it’s not? On the other hand, with the book being sold in the U.S., the little liberty with the geography didn’t detract any readers. Can’t be a prophet in your own land, right?

A favorite location is the City of New York. The center of the universe to many people, capital of the publishing industry, home to Broadway, and the list can go on and on. I confess to have used it several times: in Treasure Hunt when I introduced the character of The Falcon; Love Me Two Times is a twisted love story that could only happen in NYC; and in my current Work-in-progress, the lead character is a former member of New York Bravest.

After you decide where the story is going to happen, the job is not easier but at least becomes straight forward.

If it is a real place, learn as much as you can, interview people who have lived there and who have visited, ask their impressions, feeling, interesting sites, the little-known details. This will help if your characters will also be visiting or locals, and be careful because it is a whole different scenario.

When possible, try to visit the place. Fellow thriller writer Karen Dionne had the opportunity and flew to Chile to visit the volcano that is the center of her latest novel Boiling Point. But if not possible, then use the Internet. Many cities have devoted websites with their history, interesting landmarks, weather and population.

In other words, when it comes to stories, the same rule as in real state applies and everything is location, location, location!

Here is a quick view of J.H. Bográn's 2011 releases:
Absolution Withheld (2011):

Alexander Beck, a.k.a. The Falcon, enters a Catholic Church seeking for hidden treasure, but instead finds a lifeline for saving his soul. This is a short story prequel to the full length suspense thriller TREASURE HUNT by author J.H. Bográn.

Treasure Hunt (2011):

Alexander Beck, a for-hire thief that can be contracted through the web by posting ads with his handle: The Falcon.

Bill Porter hijacked a plane back in 1978, the proceedings of that caper were securely hidden inside a cave in a Central America country. Falcon is hired to retrieve it, but encounters many problems as a former cellmate of Bill, Jack Davis is after the money himself. Jack will stop at nothing until he gets a hold of the money, kidnapping Bill's daughter Jamie is only the first step.

Watch the Treasure Hunt video trailer HERE 

Other works by J.H. Bográn include short stories THE OUTPOST and LOVE ME TWO TIMES, published by Red Rose Publishing.

You can find out more about José at the following places:

His website:
His blog:
His Facebook page
Twitter: @JHBogran

Thanks for joining us today. 

On Friday, I’ll be dishing it up with Robert Browne about his new book Paradise Prophecy.

Until then,



Friday, July 22, 2011

Dishing it up with Kiki Howell

Please welcome Kiki Howell to my dishing it up series. Ever since she was young, Kiki Howell has loved to listen to a well-woven tale with real characters, inspired plots, and delightful resolutions. Kiki could spend hours lost in a book, and soon she knew that creating lives, loves, and losses with just words had to be the greatest thing that she could do. To that end, she pursued her study of literature and writing, earning a bachelor’s degree in English. She then followed in a Master’s program in Creative Writing.

“After a long break having my boys, I finally just had to write again. And, as soon as I gave the stories the space, they entered it. It’s both awesome and humbling to find the words in my mind become characters on a page and create their lives.”

She has now had over twenty stories published between five different small presses. She could not be more thrilled or grateful to see her creations polished and out in the real world. Please look around. Although, a bit of caution, most of her stories tend to hang out on the graphically sexy side of town.

Kiki resides in the Midwest with her incredibly handsome and talented, singer/songwriter husband and two children. When she is not writing, she is spending time with her family, reading, baking or knitting.

Her biggest dream is to have a novel she writes be made into a movie that her husband creates the soundtrack for, and then cruise to Alaska with her family on the money they make.

JET: Thanks for coming by Kiki. Can you tell us about your most recent book?

Kiki: Sure! It is an angel and demon erotic romance called, A Questionable Hero.  Here's the official book blurb:

Born of a mortal woman but raised in Hell by the demon that sired him, Abdamas is a Halfling—proof incarnate of the war between good and evil that exists in each of us. Shaebiel is an angel warrior earning her ultimate salvation in Heaven by fighting demons like Abdamas who are in search of human souls on Earth.

In the heat of a raging battle , Abdamas sees Shaebiel and wants her. When the blade of another demon aims for her, Abdamas is injured himself trying to save her. Shaebiel can’t believe a demon has rescued her from certain death and takes her questionable hero home with her to heal him.

As they both fight and surrender to their desires, the conflict around them continues, and there is Heaven and Hell to pay for their actions. Through divine intervention they are offered a gift. But Hell is nowhere near finished with either of them, and the stakes are getting higher and higher.

Can a questionable hero sacrifice enough to redeem himself in the eyes of Heaven so that he may claim the love of an angel?

Genres: Urban Fantasy (Angels and Demons), Erotic Romance
Adult Content Warnings: Explicit Graphic Language and Violence
from kNight Romance Publishing



JET: What drew you to erotic fiction?

Kiki: Actually, I was doing a writing exercise that said to write in a genre you are not comfortable with. I took not comfortable to mean not familiar having just read my first erotic romance story at the time :) After writing two stories, my husband read them and encouraged me to submit them just to see what kind of response I would get. I got a contract for both stories, so I got more comfortable with the genre and now have over 20 stories written in it.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

Kiki: The constant waiting. I never realized how impatient I was until you have to wait for everything: to hear about submissions, if contract to wait for publication dates, to wait for reviews, etc. I have become addicted to checking my emails! LOL

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Kiki: Getting a cover quote for my novel Torn Asunder from NY Times Bestselling Author, Hannah Howell, and author I had loved reading for some time and met online. To have an author I admired read and like my book was amazing!

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

Kiki: Authors, I couldn’t say for sure, but growing up I read a lot of ghost stories or paranormal mysteries. As a kid I was a big fan of Nancy Drew. As I got older and got into my mom’s romances, I found my genre combo!

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

Kiki: I always had the dream, but life intervened. So, I got started late, once my children were in school full time and then there was the years of excuses after that, of course ;)

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

Kiki: Done? Well, I better plead the fifth on that one! LOL But, I have bought a lot of Wiccan books, non-fiction, and recently bought a non-fiction book on Sex Magick. That is some interesting reading.

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

Kiki: Wow, I am so not good at picking favorites! Several of my stories have something that drew me to write them in the first place, and a lot of those reasons are very different. I think I really enjoyed writing my angel and demon story, and was also pleased with it when it was done (doesn’t always happen that way – sometimes you continue to question if they are really done). I kept joking after finishing A Questionable Hero that it took me days to figure out how to get a demon into heaven! LOL

JET: Any advice (from a writer’s standpoint) for the novices out there?

Kiki: Stay true to your story, don’t question it as you write it constantly wondering what a crit partner or editor will think. Your story will be the better for it.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with:

JET: Paper or Plastic?

Kiki: Paper

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Kiki: Steak

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Kiki: Mountains

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Kiki: Rock-n-Roll

JET: Leather or Lace?

Kiki: Lace

JET: Angels or Demons?

Kiki: Halfling! LOL

JET: Paper or Digital?

Kiki: Paper

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Kiki: Cheesy B Rated Horror

JET: Twilight or True Blood?

Kiki: True Blood

JET: Coffee or Tea?

Kiki: Coffee, but stupid stomach makes me drink tea :(

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

Kiki: I actually have a lot of stories out there right now, awaiting the decisions of editors. What I hope is next is a contract and thus release of the first book in my Hidden Salem series.

JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Kiki Howell and her work at the following places:



Facebook Fan Page:!/KikiHowell


Kiki also loves to hear from fans! Email her at

Next Friday I’ve got Robert Browne dishing it up about his new release Paradise Prophecy – a kick ass thriller with an Angel-Demon twist and glimpse into Milton’s Paradise Lost! Swing in and say hi!

Until then,



Monday, July 18, 2011

Manic Monday with Amy Corwin

Today’s Manic Monday guest is Award-winning author Amy Corwin. She manages a dual career as a writer and an enterprise systems administrator in the computer industry. She writes Regencies, paranormals, and mysteries, although to be truthful, most of her books include a bit of murder and mayhem since she discovered that killing off at least one character is a highly effective way to make the remaining ones tow the plot line.

Please give Amy a warm welcome…

First, I owe big thanks to Jane for allowing me a spot on her blog. It’s very kind of her as it’s not everyone who will allow another writer to babble on the way we tend to do. So…THANKS!

We live in a remarkable period. For the first time in history, everyone who “has a book in them” can release their creativity and get it published! Through the Internet, we have the ability to share ideas, thoughts, and dreams with others and connect to people all around the globe! I’m so glad to be writing now, because it hasn’t always been so easy. My own journey has been full of fits and starts. Just for the fun of it, I thought I’d share my experiences.

A Writer’s Journey

Back in the dark ages when the earth’s crust was just beginning to cool, I thought it would be pretty nifty to be a writer. In fact, when I was six years old, I wrote my first book about a germ and his journey through a little girl’s tummy. Bizarre, yes, but a lot of fun. Particularly since I illustrated it and bound it with my own loving hands. It had cloth-over-cardboard covers, and I even sewed the pages to a spine. Quite the quality production.

After that, there were a few short stories I wrote, including one with a sort of “Twilight Zone” theme about a man who tried to pull off insurance fraud and ended up just cheating himself. By the seventh grade, I learned how to type on an old Underwood typewriter, and I really got to work. For those who were not privileged to grow up in pre-computer days (about a week after the earth’s crust hardened) this process consisted in typing each individual page, ripping it up and typing the entire page over when I made a mistake. Or trying to correct it with various methods such as white-out. A great deal of fun, to be sure.

When I finally got my first real manuscript more-or-less finished, I took two sheets of fresh paper and insert a sheet of carbon paper between them. Then I very, very carefully typed the finished product so that I would have one copy to submit to publishers and a carbon copy to keep. Just in case.

After going through this process a few times and getting a loan to pay for white-out, I finally got a romance ready to submit. I was twenty-one at the time and completely clueless. I sent it to a publisher and…low and behold…they sent back a rejection along with a box of books! And in the rejection, they said, “We liked your writing, but it didn’t entirely fit our line. If you could rewrite along the lines of the enclosed books, we would be happy to see your manuscript again.”

Folks, this is where a smarter person would have dug in and done just that. Silly me threw away the manuscript in frustration, read the books (*free books!) and piddled around for about…fifteen years with another career!

Finally, I found a group of friends who were all working at writing. They were wonderful! We critiqued each other’s work and provided much needed moral support. One by one, each of my friends got agents and got fantastic contracts for their manuscripts. Sad to say, I was the last one to get an agent, but after slaving away over a hot computer keyboard for more years than I care to mention, I got an agent. Time passed. Got another agent. Sold a manuscript! Yippee!

Looking back, my journey was pretty much the same as every other writer’s journey, although if I’d had a little more sense when I got that first rejection, I might had been published a heck of a lot sooner. But maybe, just maybe, my work was published when it was ready to be published. Maybe I needed those intervening years to live and learn.

And that’s the thought I want to leave you with: maybe things when they need to happen and not before.

My Latest Historical Mystery: A Rose Before Dying

Only Sir Edward had the motive, the opportunity, and a garden full of the identical roses sent to each victim before their death.

The first victim was Sir Edward’s ex-mistress, a woman who threw him over for a younger man. After receiving a mysterious rose, she dies while alone with Sir Edward. Then a second rose is delivered and a deadly game commences, where roses are the only clues to save the next victim.

However, Charles Vance, Earl of Castlemoor, refuses to believe his uncle, Sir Edward, could commit the murders, even when the renowned head of the Second Sons Inquiry Agency warns him there may be some truth behind the rumors. “The roses are Sir Edward’s attempt to cast suspicion elsewhere.” “Misdirection.” Or so the whispers say.

Convinced he can prove his uncle’s innocence, Vance enlists the aide of notable rosarian, Ariadne Wellfleet, little realizing his actions will involve the Wellfleet household in the killer’s game.

Before the week is out, another rose is delivered.

And someone else is missing.

You can find out more about Amy at the following places:
Her Website
Her Blog
Her Facebook Page

Kiki Howell dishes it up with me on Friday!
Until Then,

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dishing it up with Pam Jenoff

Today I have the pleasure of dishing it up with Pam Jenoff. Pam was born in Maryland and raised outside Philadelphia. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Cambridge University in England. Upon receiving her master’s in history from Cambridge, she accepted an appointment as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. The position provided a unique opportunity to witness and participate in operations at the most senior levels of government, including helping the families of the Pan Am Flight 103 victims secure their memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, observing recovery efforts at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing and attending ceremonies to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of World War II at sites such as Bastogne and Corregidor.

Following her work at the Pentagon, Jenoff moved to the State Department. In 1996 she was assigned to the U.S. Consulate in Krakow, Poland. It was during this period that Pam developed her expertise in Polish-Jewish relations and the Holocaust. Working on matters such as preservation of Auschwitz and the restitution of Jewish property in Poland, Jenoff developed close relations with the surviving Jewish community.

Pam is the author of The Kommandant's Girl, which was an international bestseller and nominated for a Quill award, as well as The Diplomat's Wife, Almost Home and A Hidden Affair.

JET: Welcome to my blog Pam, your book is georgeous!. Can you tell us about The Things We Cherished?

Pam: An accused Nazi collaborator, a forbidden love affair, and the missing antique clock that holds the truth about what really happened during the war. These are the mysteries that Charlotte Gold seeks to unravel as she races against time to defend elderly financier Roger Dykmans from allegations that he sold out his own brother, Hans, and the group of innocent children he was trying to save to the Germans. And she has to do it all while confronting her feelings for her co-counsel Jack Warrington, who just happens to be the brother of the man who once broke her heart.

The inspiration for The Things We Cherished came from a unique timepiece, known as an anniversary clock, which my husband gave me for our first wedding anniversary. I was captivated by the question of where the hundredyear-old clock had beenand the lives it had touched. As I imagined its history a tale unfolded of a couple at the turn of the century in Bavaria yearning for a better life, two brothers in Weimar Berlin wrestling issues of with Zionism and assimilation, the desperate quest of a young girl trapped behind the Iron Curtain, and of course Roger’s own story of love and sacrifice during the war. The clock became a metaphor for the experience of the Jewish people and others in in 20th century Europe.

JET: What drew you to writing historical fiction?

Pam: I’ve always loved reading historical fiction. And I spent several years in Europe working on Holocaust issues and that had greatly influenced my work.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

Pam: All of it – finding an agent, the 39 publisher rejections before my first book came out, trying to understand the changing book market. But I’m very grateful to be here.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Pam: I think for every author seeing his or her book in print and in the bookstore for the first time are both huge. Also learning that my first novel, The Kommandant’s Girl, was nominated for a Quill award while at Book Expo a few years ago and getting to go to the Quill award ceremony (even though I didn’t win 

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

Pam:. I read a lot of historical fiction growing up: Leon Uris, Herman Wouk, Isaac Bashevis Singer. And for lessons on the writing craft, Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg, was huge.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

Pam: I always wanted to be a novelist. As a child, I was forever scribbling stories and showing them to anyone willing to look. But all through my years in school and abroad, I could never quite get off the ground. I became an attorney and one week later 9/11 happened and for me it was this huge life epiphany that I didn’t necessarily have forever so if I wanted to realize my dream of being a novelist, I needed to get started right away. I took a night course called “Write Your Novel This Year” and I did just that, writing from 5-7am in the morning then going off to my day job as an associate in a big law firm.

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

Pam: After I came back from living in Krakow, I knew I wanted to write a book set during the war there. I met a Holocaust survivor who told me the story of the resistance which had taken place in Krakow, on the very streets where I’d lived and worked for years – and I’d never even heard about it! I went back to Poland and walked the streets with a whole new point of view.

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

Pam: I especially enjoyed writing The Things We Cherished because it enabled me to return not only to the topics of Jewish life in Europe and the Holocaust. These are such compelling subjects for me, not only because of my experiences working on these issues as a diplomat in Poland, but also because the era provides such fertile ground for exploring complex themes such guilt, redemption and sacrifice, the gray areas in our lives and the consequences of the choices we make. I consider this book to be, first and foremost, an elegy, love poem and tribute to those who lived through those tumultuous times.

JET: Any advice (from a writer’s standpoint) for the novices out there?

Pam: I would tell aspiring writers three things. First, you have to be tenacious. For a long time it didn’t look as if The Kommandant’s Girl was going to get picked up. But with the help of my agent, I developed the attitude that if this one doesn’t sell, the next one will. You just have to keep on knocking at the door until it opens.

Second, you have to be disciplined. Writing takes a lot of time, and I’m not just talking about the first draft. There are the revisions, and then there’s the business marketing side of it. You have to make choices in order to consistently carve out the time for your writing, if it is going to be important to you.

Finally, the single biggest skill that has helped me as a writer is having the ability to revise. My books have gone through dozens of rewrites from first draft to publication. Many times I had to take broad, conceptual suggestions from my agent or editor and incorporate them into the work. Often I wasn’t sure if I liked or agreed with the changes. Sometimes I would take the leap of faith and see if the changes worked (they almost always did). Other times I would go back to whoever was making the suggestion and say, “Whoa, let’s slow down here and revisit” in order to negotiate changes that made the story better without destroying my gut-level instinct about the spirit of the book. But ultimately, I truly believe my ability to integrate those changes made all the difference.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with: Paper or Plastic?

Pam: Am I still allowed to answer this? I thought we were all supposed to say reusable…

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Pam: Steak but not so much, more pasta and pesto and veggies and cheese and olives…

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Pam: I grew up an hour from the beach (or the shore as we call it in Jersey) and I met my husband there, so I’d have to say beach. But mountains are a close second (at least in summer, I’m not a skier). I’ve loved hiking in the Lake District in England and the High Tatras in Poland and campling in Shenandoah and went on a fabulous writing retreat in Banff.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Pam: I’m pretty musically illiterate so I defer to those with better taste.

JET: Leather or Lace?

Pam: Neither. Sadly I’m so unfashionable I was once rejected from one of those wardrobe makeover reality shows for bring too boring.

JET: Angels or Demons?

Pam: Angels. I have three kids under three and I need all of the otherwordly help I can get.

JET: Paper or Digital?

Pam: Depends. I write on a laptop but I still read the old fashioned way.

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Pam: Classics. It’s not silent, I know but my all-time fave is Casablanca.

JET: Top 10 best seller or Unknown Back Shelf Find?

Pam: I tend to find authors and read them exhaustively whether bestselling or obscure.

JET: Coffee or Tea?

Pam: Definitely coffee. Like I said, I have three little kids.

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

Pam: I’m working on another book related to the war, it centers on some human bones found at a development site in Poland and the story toggles back and forth between present day and the past. Like The Things We Cherished, there are rich romantic relationships in it, but also themes of sisterhood and friendship.

JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog.

Folks, you can find out more about Pam Jenoff and her work at her website:

Join me next week when I’ve got Kiki Howell on tap!

Until then,



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Katie Salidas One Day Book Blitz Tour

In honor of the release of Pandora’s Box, I’m letting Katie Salidas take over my blog for her One Day Book Blitz Tour…

When asked to write about a “day” in the life of a writer, I was stumped. I sat staring at the computer screen, watching the little cursor blink, mocking me as I wracked my brain, trying to recall what my “typical” day is like.

While writing is something I take very seriously and look at as my job, it almost never happens during the “day.” I can often be found bleary-eyed, late at night, clicking away at the keys of my laptop. Even us “Housewives” have day jobs. I’m a write-at-home-mom! The house doesn’t clean itself (oh God how I wish it did though), the laundry won’t fold itself … okay, you know where I’m going with this. Seriously though, daytime is when I work on the household stuff, do my critiquing group critiques and posts, and take care of business related things for Rising Sign Books.

As it is, the everyday minutia tends to take up the bulk of the daylight hours, leaving only the calm of the evening for me to “get a few words in.” Once my daughter is nestled all snug in her bed, that’s when the words spring out from my head.

So let’s start with that. I work nights. My shift starts promptly at 8pm. Until recently (we just found out we are expecting baby #2) I would crack open a can of redbull (the 12 oz one), open up my current manuscript, and get started. Now that baby #2 is on the way, that can of redbull has been exchanged for a more pregnancy-friendly beverage, water. And let me tell you, my writing production had gone way down since caffeine was removed from my diet. But, alas, we must soldier on!

8:30PM – While writing the start of a lusty scene between my two main characters, my email chimes. I’m a little OCD so I have to know what it is. (I know I should just leave my email closed… *sigh* I’ll never learn.) “Oooh Book Marketing tips. I need to know this!”

9:15PM – Email led to a quick pop over to facebook which led to a round of “poke wars” and three hundred updates. Whoops! I finally close both Thunderbird (email) and Firefox (internet) and realized I have only written one decent paragraph. Time to get back to work.

10:45PM – I need a synonym for ‘ethereal’ and a another bottle of water. After a quick stretch and run to the kitchen, I silently swear as I click open firefox. “only… no Facebook. No Twitter. No LinkedIn. No Myspace. No blogger…”

11:15PM - airy, celestial, spiritual, sublime, supernal, tenuous, unearthly, unworldly… See, I’m working. I wasn’t surfing the web. Promise.

11:30PM – Kiss Hubby goodnight. He reminds me to come to bed instead of falling asleep on the couch, no matter how late I finish work. (It’s a bit of a regular occurrence in our house) I swear I won’t fall asleep on the couch. “Scouts honor.”

12:00AM – Email chimes just as I finish up a rough draft on the lusty scene I’ve been working on. Perfect timing, an email from my critting buddy (many of them are up as late as me on a regular basis too). I’ll shoot over the pages I just wrote and see what they think.

12:30AM – Delete Delete Delete… Okay, bad Idea to send off something that rough. That scene was crap, but at least I heard it from a friend, right? Time to rewrite it and grab Redbull #2

12:35AM – Stare blankly at the ceiling, wondering if inspiration will strike. Oooh, was that my email again? Yay Facebook Updates! Oooh new Twitter followers. Awww, some poor man in Nigeria needs me to help him get his inheritance.

1:00AM –Maybe a change of location will help. It’s too late for a coffee shop but I’ve got a laptop I can at least get away from the desk. I hop over to the loveseat.

1:30AM – Back on track!! Words are flying from my fingers to the screen. Characters are falling madly in love. It’s getting hot and heavy in their bedroom… Boy, I use the word embrace a lot. I need a new word. Ut-oh… I silently swear as I click open Firefox. “only… no Facebook. No Twitter. No LinkedIn. No Myspace. No blogger…” I can be strong this time. I just know it.

2:30AM – How many versions of that farmer game are on Facebook now? Not that I was on Facebook… for that long. I mean, does the word snuggle sound too cute? What about nuzzle? Do vampires nuzzle? Hmmmm.

3:30AM – Things are really moving along. I’ve gotten 1k words into the rewrite on my love scene. Getting a little sleepy but I think I can hang until I get it finished.

7:00AM – Hubby wakes me up, looking very disappointed. I fell asleep on the couch again. Time to start another day. I promise I’ll sleep in my bed next time.

So there you have it, a typical day…er night… in my writing life. Thanks for reading, and if you want to check out my work, you can find me at

Immortalis Carpe Noctem (Book 1)

Becoming a vampire is easy. Living with the condition... that's the hard part.

Bleeding to death after brutal mugging, twenty-five year old Alyssa is rescued by the most unlikely hero: the handsome and aloof vampire, Lysander.

His gift of immortal blood initiates Alyssa into a frightening, eternally dark world filled with: bloodlust, religious fanaticism, and thousand-year old vendettas.

With Lysander as her guide, Alyssa will have to learn what it takes to survive in the immortal world. She'll have to find the strength to accept her new reality and carpe noctem; or give in, and submit to final death.

Hunters & Prey (Book 2)

Becoming a vampire saved Alyssa from death, but the price was high: the loss of everything and everyone attached to her mortal life. She’s still learning to cope when a surprise confrontation with Santino Vitale, the Acta Sanctorum’s most fearsome hunter, sends her fleeing back to the world she once knew, and Fallon, the friend she’s missed more than anything.

Alyssa breaks vampire law by revealing her new, true self to her old friend, a fact which causes strong division in the group that should support her most: her clan.

Pandora’s Box (Book 3)

After a few months as a vampire, Alyssa thought she’d learned all she needed to know about the supernatural world. But her confidence is shattered by the delivery of a mysterious package – a Pandora’s Box.

Seemingly innocuous, the box is in reality an ancient prison, generated by a magic more powerful than anyone in her clan has ever known. But what manner of evil could need such force to contain it?

When the box is opened, the sinister creature within is released, and only supernatural blood will satiate its thirst. The clan soon learns how it feels when the hunter becomes the hunted.

Powerless against the ancient evil, the clan flees Las Vegas for Boston, with only a slim hope for salvation. Could Lysander’s old journals hold the key? And what if they don’t?

And how welcome will they be in a city run by a whole different kind of supernatural being?


To purchase the Immortalis books (In print and ebook):

Amazon USA

Amazon UK

Amazon DE (Germany)

Barnes & Noble


Monday, July 11, 2011

Manic Monday with J. Carson Black

I’d like to welcome J. Carson Black to my Manic Monday guest series.

J. Carson Black is the critically-acclaimed author of the Laura Cardinal series: Darkness on the Edge of Town, Dark Side of the Moon, and The Devil’s Hour.

Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, she was inspired by Stephen King’s The Shining, to write her own horror novel, a ghost story titled Darkscope, set in the historic mining town of Bisbee, Arizona. Darkscope was published by Kensington Publishing Corp. and she never looked back.

Now the award-winning author of eight novels published by NAL, Kensington Publishing Corp. and Dorchester Publishing–and in France, Germany, and Norway, Black has partnered with digital publisher Breakaway Media to publish her novels in the digital space. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.


When I first set out to write my crime fiction thriller, DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN, I spoke to my friend John, a retired police officer. I told him I wanted to write a series starring a female homicide detective, and he suggested I make her a detective with the Arizona Department of Public Safety (Highway Patrol). As a state-run agency, a detective with the DPS can investigate crimes anywhere in Arizona, lending a hand to jurisdictions in need of manpower and expertise. I loved this idea. Laura Cardinal, based in Tucson, can troubleshoot homicide scenes wherever I wanted to put her.

Then my friend John made a request: would I consider writing about Internet sexual predators?

With the explosion of the Internet, sexual predators have now found validation through their network of friends. Their numbers have grown exponentially, and the child on the other end of a smartphone or Netbook is no match for them. These predators hold all the cards. A lot of people in law enforcement were worried that parents were unaware of the problem, that these kids were vulnerable through their computers.

I decided to give it a try.

At first I wondered how well I could write a story like this, which was disturbing to me. But I found a way – and I’m happy to say this story has no “ick” factor, just a strong female character, solid police work, some thrills along the way, and a story that really needs to be told. Since I wrote the book, many changes have taken place – social media moves fast -- and now there are even more dangers out there for kids. One thing remains unchanged: more than ever, parents need to be aware of what their children are doing, especially in this age of Social Media Gone Wild.

In writing DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN, I depended on the help of a few key members of law enforcement, like the sex crimes detective whose job was to pose as a young teen on the Internet and lure the bad guys in. The predators came in droves. One night he invited me to his house and we got on the computer. He showed me just how scary it was out there. I used some of the conversations in DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN. In fact, if you look at the cover of DARKNESS, really look at it, you will see print---bits and pieces of those conversations.

But before I could start writing, I needed a model for my main character—a detective with the DPS.

Terry, the DPS detective I worked with, is male, but I based my female homicide detective Laura Cardinal on him. He is a fine man and a great detective. He and his wife agreed to meet me in the mining-turned-tourist town of Bisbee Arizona, where my victim is found dead in the City Park bandshell. Terry came to “walk the crime scene” with me. He was methodical and careful and observant, and as I followed him in the glaring September sunlight up the steps to where the body would be, I felt as if a goose had crossed my grave. City Park, which is built on the flat roofs of three or four shops on Brewery Gulch, was the Bisbee town cemetery at the turn of the century---the bandshell itself was erected in 1916. Now here we were, bringing my story to life. One gentleman, a local, stopped us and asked if we were with the city council, and were we planning to do something to change his beloved City Park?

Afterwards, I learned that Terry encountered a car accident on the freeway on his way here. He immediately stopped and rendered aid, which was the reason he was late. “Protect and Serve” isn’t just a motto to him.

I tried to bring Terry’s brand of diligence and passion to my own DPS detective, Laura Cardinal.

To find out more about J. Carson Black and her books, please visit her at her website:

Joining me tomorrow is Katie Salidas with her one-day Book Blitz Blog tour!

Until then,



Friday, July 8, 2011

Dishing it up with Tim Ellis

Today I have the pleasure of dishing it up with Tim Ellis. Tim was born in the bowels of Hammersmith Hospital, London, on a dark and stormy night, grew up in Cheadle, Cheshire, and now lives in Essex with his wife and five Shitzus. In-between, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps at eighteen and completed twenty-two years service, leaving in 1993 having achieved the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1 (Regimental Sergeant Major). Since then he has worked in secondary education as a senior financial manager, in higher education as an associate lecturer/tutor at Lincoln and Anglia Ruskin Universities, and as a consultant for the National College of School Leadership. His final job, before retiring in 2009, was as Head and teacher of Behavioural Sciences (Psychology/Sociology) in a secondary school. He has a PhD and an MBA in Educational Management, and an MA in Education.

He has been learning the craft of writing fiction for four years, and is the author of ten novels including: Warrior – Path of Destiny and Scourge of the Steppe (Adult Historical Fiction charting the life of Genghis Khan); The Knowledge of Time: Second Civilisation (YA Science Fiction); Orc Quest: Prophecy (YA Fantasy); Solomon’s Key, Body 13, The Graves at Angel Brook, A Life for a Life, The Wages of Sin, and Jacob's Ladder (all Adult Crime Fiction); and a collection of short stories: Untended Treasures.

JET: Can you tell us about your latest book?

Tim: The Wages of Sin – The second in the Parish & Richards series, which was published mid-April, has been well received by readers. Usually, when people buy A Life for a Life, they also grab The Wages of Sin while they’re at it. I loved creating the characters of seasoned detective Jed Parish and new recruit Mary Richards and I know readers like them too. Parish is cynical, Richards is naïve and innocent, but not that naïve she doesn’t have the men around her dancing to her tune. When it comes to relationships though, she’s useless and this is further developed in the next book with devastating consequences. Hopefully, readers will see the development of these two characters in this second book and want more!

JET: What drew you to writing thrillers?

Tim: I love them. I read them, and watch them on TV and film, and I suppose we all want to write what we love to read and watch. Recent thrillers that grabbed me were: Steig Larsson’s trilogy and the Swedish films – both were brilliant – I loved Noomi Rapace as Salander she did a fantastic job; The Killing (which is coming back to BBC 4); Wallander (the books by Henning Mankel and the Swedish films); Spiral, Frost, Dalzeil & Pascoe, Case Histories – How long have you got?

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

Tim: Social networking – I know, you’re surprised at that. Trouble is, I want to write 24/7 and it takes an effort to do anything else. Once I’m throwing myself about a bit, I enjoy it, but its guilty enjoyment because in the back of my mind I have books to write, characters to develop, people to kill!

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Tim: Publishing all my books and realizing people were reading and enjoying them. Receiving emails from ‘fans’ – Now that’s spooky having fans at my tender age!

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

Tim: I don’t know about growing up! That was a long time ago before books were invented. More recently though: Bernard Cornwell, Conn Iggulden, Steig Larsson, Leon Uris, Tim Willocks, Carlos Ruiz Zafon – how long have we got?

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

Tim: Forever! I got my first rejection at 16 years old for a book of poetry. Like most people, life got in the way, so I started writing four years ago with a view to writing full time in retirement, which is what I’m doing now. But… I often think what I could have achieved in the writing world if I’d started 40 years ago!

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

Tim: I spent a year researching Genghis Khan when I could have been writing!

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

Tim: Strangely enough, the one that hasn’t really taken off yet… Orc Quest: Prophecy. It was a lot of fun to write and I had some great reviews from beta readers, and it’s got some of the best characters I’ve created. I’m going to write the second in the series soon. If people like rooting for characters, there are lots to root for in this book. If you haven’t read it yet, put it on your bucket list!

JET: Any advice for the novices out there?

Tim: Even though I’ve written 11 books I consider myself a novice still. So, from one novice to another: Do it! Learn everything about the craft, but in the end you just have to do it – write that book – the readers will tell you in no uncertain terms whether you’re any good or not!

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with: Paper or Plastic?

Tim: Paper

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Tim: Steak – yum, yum with Tim’s world-famous crunchy coleslaw!

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Tim: Beach – I like the mountains, but lying on a beach reading is the next best thing to snorkeling in the coral reef at my age.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Tim: Rock ‘n’ Roll – I was brought up in the era of the Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin.

JET: Paper or Digital?

Tim: Digital – I write directly on computer now, and I very rarely print my books out. Digital is the future – save the trees!

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Tim: Neither. If there’s nothing decent on TV I’d rather write.

JET: Coffee or Tea?

Tim: Coffee – I don’t mind tea, but coffee does it for me.

JET: Salty or Sweet?

Tim: Both – I like lots of salt on my food (he says guiltily), but I like to follow it with chocolate (he whispers even more guiltily!)

JET: Top 10 best seller or Unknown Back Shelf Find?

Tim: Both – I can go for a bestseller, but I have lots of back shelf finds as well.

JET: 2012 Mayan Prophecy Believer or Ain’t Gonna Happen?

Tim: It ain’t gonna happen – maybe!

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

Tim: I’m currently writing the third in the Parish & Richards series called The Flesh is Weak. I’m at 40,000 words and it should be released mid-August. What I can say is that it’s about murdered children, but that’s not all. Also, Parish begins the search for information about his parents, but gets something else instead. Richard’s poor choice of men and her counseling continue; two new detectives join the team temporarily, and one of Kowalski’s children goes missing. I also have a fourth in the series in mind called: The Shadow of Death. I have a YA Science Fiction novel at 30,000 words called The Timekeeper’s Apprentice that needs finishing, a third Quigg book called The Graves Beneath Eternity Wharf (one reader who emailed me begged me to write another Quigg book, so she’ll be pleased about that!), and the second in the Orc Quest series called The Last Human – I can’t wait to get on to that one!

JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Tim Ellis and his work at the following places:

Tim’s website:

Orc Quest website:

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

Next week is a busy week here on my blog. On Manic Monday, I’ve got J.Carson Black, on Tuesday, I’ve got Katie Salinas and next Friday, I’ve got Pam Jennoff on tap.

Have a wonderful weekend and don’t forget to swing in next week and help make my guests feel welcomed!

Until then,



Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy July 1st!

Welcome to July. I love July. Fireworks. My Birthday. Thriller Fest. Dark Reckoning and Survival Games came out in July of 2010.

All things considered, July is by far my favorite month of the year.

Everything uber-cool happens in July and this year is no different.

I’ve got a kick-ass line up of guests including, Tim Ellis, J. Carson Black, Katie Salidas, Pam Jennoff, Kiki Howell and closing up the month, I’ll be dishing it up with Robert Browne.

In the meantime, check out these sizzling summer reads…

J.E. Taylor – The Raising – June 1, 2011

What would you do to bring your soul mate back from the dead? Would you give up your soul? Your talents? Your life?

Dr. Holly Robbins lost her husband to a stray bullet and now she has another patient on the brink between life and death. A patient whose mother offers a unique opportunity, but only if Holly can save her son.

E.J. Findorff – Unhinged – July 1, 2011

Detective Decland Dupree arrives at the crime scene, where the recipient of his first childhood kiss lies in a pool of blood. Not fifteen minutes later, the body of a man is found next door. The most sadistic serial killer in New Orleans history is on the prowl. He selects both a man and a woman, raping and killing them on the same night. When another woman from Deck’s past is found and identified, the young detective is flooded with questions. How does this maniac know Deck? Why is the FBI deputy director sabotaging his efforts to capture the killer?And, most unsettling, who’s next? As the Absinthe Killer continues to evade arrest, Deck is relieved of duty. But he’s far from giving up—and, unfortunately for Deck, the FBI knows it.

Boyd Morrison – The Vault – July 5, 2011

Tyler Locke's routine commute on a Washington State ferry is interrupted by a chilling anonymous call claiming that his father has been kidnapped and that a truck bomb is set to detonate on board in twenty minutes. When Tyler, a former army combat engineer, reaches the bomb on the boat's car deck, he's stunned to find classical languages expert Stacy Benedict waiting for him. She's received the same threat and her sister has also been taken. In order to disarm the bomb, they must work together to solve an engineering puzzle--a puzzle written in ancient Greek. Preventing the explosion is only the first step. They soon learn the entire setup is a test created by a ruthless criminal who forces them to go on a seemingly impossible mission: uncover the legendary lost riches of King Midas.

Tyler and Stacy have just five days to track down the gold. Armed with an ancient manuscript penned by brilliant Greek inventor Archimedes, they begin a quest to unravel a 2,000-year-old mystery whose answer is hidden within the workings of a cryptic artifact: the Antikythera mechanism, a device designed by Archimedes himself.

To save their loved ones and prevent their captors from recovering a treasure that will finance unspeakable devastation, Tyler and Stacy head to Italy, Germany, Greece, and finally the streets of New York City in a race against the clock to find the truth behind the story of King Midas.

Lynne Griffin – Sea Escape – July 6, 2011

Acclaimed novelist and nationally recognized family expert Lynne Griffin returns with Sea Escape—an emotional, beautifully imagined story inspired by the author’s family letters about the ties that bind mothers and daughters.

Laura Martinez is wedged in the middle place, grappling with her busy life as a nurse, wife, and devoted mom to her two young children when her estranged mother, Helen, suffers a devastating stroke. In a desperate attempt to lure her mother into choosing life, Laura goes to Sea Escape, the pristine beach home that Helen took refuge in after the death of her beloved husband, Joseph. There, Laura hunts for the legendary love letters her father wrote to her mother when he served as a reporter for the Associated Press during wartime Vietnam.

Believing the beauty and sway of her father’s words will have the power to heal, Laura reads the letters bedside to her mother, a woman who once spoke the language of fabric—of Peony Sky in Jade and Paradise Garden Sage—but who can’t or won’t speak to her now. As Laura delves deeper into her tangled family history, she becomes increasingly determined to save her mother. As each letter reveals a patchwork detail of her parents’ marriage, she discovers a common thread: a secret that mother and daughter unknowingly share.

Weaving back and forth from Laura’s story to her mother’s, beginning in the idyllic 1950s with Helen’s love affair with Joseph through the tumultuous Vietnam War period on to the present, Sea Escape takes a gratifying look at what women face in their everyday lives—the balancing act of raising capable and happy children and being accomplished and steadfast wives while still being gracious and good daughters. It is a story that opens the door to family secrets so gripping, you won’t be able to put this book down until each is revealed.

Pam Jenoff – The Things We Cherished – July 12

An ambitious novel that spans decades and continents, The Things We Cherished tells the story of Charlotte Gold and Jack Harrington, two fiercely independent attor¬neys who find themselves slowly falling for one another while working to defend the brother of a Holocaust hero against allegations of World War II–era war crimes.

The defendant, wealthy financier Roger Dykmans, mysteri¬ously refuses to help in his own defense, revealing only that proof of his innocence lies within an intricate timepiece last seen in Nazi Germany. As the narrative moves from Philadelphia to Germany, Poland, and Italy, we are given glimpses of the lives that the anniversary clock has touched over the past century, and learn about the love affair that turned a brother into a traitor.

Rich in historical detail, Jenoff’s astonishing new work is a testament to true love under the worst of circumstances.

Robert Browne – The Paradise Prophecy – July 21, 2011

A spectacular thriller inspired by John Milton's Paradise Lost in which the final chapter of the War in Heaven is about to play out on Earth, with the fate of humanity hanging in the balance.

The Myth

When God cast the archangel Satan into Hell, ending the War in Heaven, peace prevailed on Earth. Until the fallen angels took revenge in the Garden of Eden. Ever since, mankind has been in a struggle between good and evil, paradise and apocalypse: the fall of Rome, The Crusades, World Wars, nuclear proliferation, the Middle East Crisis... The War in Heaven never really ended-it just changed venues. For millennia, God's angels have been fighting Satan's demons on Earth, all in hopes of bringing about Satan's greatest ambition, the Apocalypse.

The Reality

Satan has never been closer to his goal than right now.

Agent Bernadette Callahan is a talented investigator at a shadowy government organization known only as Section, on the trail of a serial killer with nearly supernatural abilities. Sebastian "Batty" LaLaurie is a religious historian who knows far too much about the other side- and that hard-earned knowledge is exactly what Callahan needs. This unlikely duo pair up for a race across the globe, decoding clues left in ancient texts from the Bible to Paradise Lost and beyond. In the process they stumble upon a vast conspiracy-one beyond the scope of mankind's darkest imagination.

Melanie Benjamin – The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb – July 26, 2011

In her national bestseller Alice I Have Been, Melanie Benjamin imagined the life of the woman who inspired Alice in Wonderland. Now, in this jubilant new novel, Benjamin shines a dazzling spotlight on another fascinating female figure whose story has never fully been told: a woman who became a nineteenth century icon and inspiration—and whose most daunting limitation became her greatest strength.

“Never would I allow my size to define me. Instead, I would define it.”

She was only two-foot eight-inches tall, but her legend reaches out to us more than a century later. As a child, Mercy Lavinia “Vinnie” Bump was encouraged to live a life hidden away from the public. Instead, she reached out to the immortal impresario P. T. Barnum, married the tiny superstar General Tom Thumb in the wedding of the century, and transformed into the world’s most unexpected celebrity.

Here, in Vinnie’s singular and spirited voice, is her amazing adventure—from a showboat “freak” revue where she endured jeering mobs to her fateful meeting with the two men who would change her life: P. T. Barnum and Charles Stratton, AKA Tom Thumb. Their wedding would captivate the nation, preempt coverage of the Civil War, and usher them into the White House and the company of presidents and queens. But Vinnie’s fame would also endanger the person she prized most: her similarly-sized sister, Minnie, a gentle soul unable to escape the glare of Vinnie’s spotlight.

A barnstorming novel of the Gilded Age, and of a woman’s public triumphs and personal tragedies, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb is the irresistible epic of a heroine who conquered the country with a heart as big as her dreams—and whose story will surely win over yours.

Julie Kramer – Killing Kate – July 26, 2011

Not all angels are divine...

As TV reporter Riley Spartz discovers a serial killer drawing angel-shaped chalk outlines around the bodies of his victims, she unearths an eerie legend dating back nearly a century. Tracking the story to an Iowa cemetery, Riley finds an infamous Black Angel monument that may be connected to the string of homicides throughout the Midwest. Now she is up against a delusional young man who believes the statue is urging him to kill.

Grab a drink and your kindle, stretch out on the beach or by the pool and enjoy!

Next Friday I’ve got Tim Ellis on tap, swing in and say hi!

Until then,