Sunday Series Spotlight: The Division Chronicles & Author Interview

Today, I am pleased to spotlight author Connie L. Smith and her YA urban fantasy/paranormal romance trilogy, The Division Chronicles.  Today’s post features an interview with Ms. Smith and an excerpt from the third book, Enscrolled, which was just released in  mid- October.

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Publication Date:  July 2013

Years ago, demons were forced out of the earth’s realm by a band of supernatural fighters, banished from the place and its people in the aftermath of a horrific war. It should’ve ended there – would’ve – if not for the final demon’s claw snagging on the open portal. What felt like victory became only a reprieve, the winning warriors understanding that the tear would spread, and the demons eventually would escape exile. It was only a matter of time, and a need for future defense – a question of genetics and essences, magic and power.

Now, centuries later, a new army must bind together – one of teenagers with inhuman potentials and abilities…

AJ went to bed Sunday night an average teenage girl, clumsy and athletically lacking. So when she wakes up Monday morning with super-strength, she does what any rational person would do: She goes into denial. When a smoking hot guy in a suit shows up, rambling about the end of the war and demons spilling through some kind of rift, she refuses to listen, telling herself he’s insane. Except weird things just won’t quit happening, and the guy keeps popping up in her life, trying to explain the changes suddenly happening within her. Is she crazy, or is this guy… not so crazy after all?

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Available from Amazon: Essenced: The Division Chronicles: Book One (Volume 1)

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Blog Tour~ Review +Author Interview & Giveaway for Target for Terror (Security Specialists, Inc. # 1)

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Target for Terror (Security Specialists, Inc # 1)  by  L.A. Iding

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 Publication Date: February 1, 2014

Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense, Suspense, Adult Fiction

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“If you leave on your own, you’ll be dead by morning.”

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Critical Care Nurse Natalia Sokolova can’t ignore former FBI Agent Sloan Dryer’s dire warning. After the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia dies under her care, her house explodes in front of her eyes and now she’s found her best friends brutally murdered. Ironically, the only bright spot in this nightmare is Sloan’s bad Ukrainian accent and his willingness to protect her.

Sloan is convinced that someone wants to kill Natalia and when he finds a link to her family, he’s not sure who they can trust. As they run for their lives, and from the passion simmering between them, they uncover a terrorist plot that could bring the nation to its knees. Time is running out. Can Sloan and Natalia save their country and their future, before it’s too late?

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Blog Tour for An Undying Oath: Review, Author Interview & Giveaway

Today’s post is a review of H.K. Savage’s romantic thriller, An Undying Oath and is chock-full of extras. You can read an excerpt followed by an insightful interview with the author about writing this book and what readers can expect from her in the future. Finally, be sure to enter the giveaway for your chance to win one of several prizes!!

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 An Undying Oath by H.K. Savage

An Undying Oath

Publication Date: September 2013

Publisher: Staccato Publishing

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Paranormal

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Sergeant Justin Shaw returned from the war with what is left of his unit, though instead of being hailed as heroes, they are being sought as test subjects. Their last mission behind enemy lines to obtain a WMD ended with them exposed and on the run. Their goal is not only to destroy the weapon, but also the program being run by their own government. Justin and his men have sacrificed everything for their mission. Will it be enough? Samantha James, a girl whose father disappeared almost twenty years ago unwittingly holds the key. When her father returns bodies start to fall. Sam doesn’t know who to trust. Both Justin and her father have their own agendas and either one of them could end up with her dead.

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Blog Tour for The Bloodline War (The Community # 1): Author Interview & Giveaway

Are you looking for a new Paranormal Romance series? Tracy Tappan has released the first novel in her Community series, and it looks intriguing. Read on to learn more about this first installment and the author, herself as she shares her experiences with creating the series.  You can also visit Tappan’s website to enter a giveaway offered during this tour.

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The Bloodline War (The Community Series # 1) by Tracy Tappan

Publication Date: December 2013

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Adult Fiction

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Beneath the streets of San Diego, California, a unique race of human beings called Vârcolac lives on the brink of extinction. Desperate to save their dying people, a brotherhood of warriors deploys to the surface to steal genetically superior women for a repopulation program.

A car accident changes everything…

A computer hacked hospital blood test confirms that Dr. Toni Parthen carries a gene that’s the key to salvation for a unique race of human beings. Abducted to a secret, underground community, Toni is asked to do the unthinkable: procreate with a man from a race called Vârcolac—a species that must consume the blood of other humans to survive. Then bizarre turns dangerous, because a new, mysterious enemy also wants her special DNA, and Toni finds herself in the middle of an all-out war to possess her.

Destined to be alone…

It’s the job of Jaċken Brun, leader of the Warrior Class, to keep the captured women safe from a demonic race of humans who rule a neighboring part of their underground world. His challenges multiply when Toni inflames the women into mutiny, and then there’s his biggest problem…his growing desire for the infuriating woman herself. Afflicted with a dark genetic makeup, Jaċken can never be with a woman. Until Toni uses her scientific ingenuity to find a way for her and Jaċken to be together. But then the new enemy faction unearths Toni and drags her to their hidden lair, where they’ll inflict an unspeakable cruelty on her to gain access to her valuable genes.

It will take every warrior skill Jaċken owns to save the woman he loves, but only if he can find her in time….

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Blog Tour: Author Interview & Giveaway for Darkangel (The Witches of Cleopatra Hill #1)

I really like author Christine Pope’s work, and her Sedona Trilogy is one of my favorite alien invasion reads.  Now, she has just released the first book in a new trilogy called Darkangel.  The interview with Ms. Pope reveals more about the series, and she shares the dream cast she imagines for her characters!

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Darkangel (Witches of Cleopatra Hill #1) by Christine Pope

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Publication Date: March 30, 21014

Publisher: Dark Valentine Press/ 233 pgs.

Genre: Paranormal Romance

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Finding the man of your dreams can be a real nightmare….

As the future prima, or head witch of her clan, Angela McAllister is expected to bond with her consort during her twenty-first year, thus ensuring that she will come into her full powers at the appointed time. The clock is ticking down, and her consort has yet to make an appearance. Instead, her dreams are haunted by a man she’s never seen, the one she believes must be her intended match.

But with time running out, and dark forces attempting to seize her powers for their own, Angela is faced with a terrible choice: give up her dreams of the man she may never meet and take the safer path, or risk leaving her clan and everyone in it at the mercy of those who seek their ruin.

Darkangel is the first book in The Witches of Cleopatra Hill, a paranormal romance trilogy set in the haunted town of Jerome, Arizona.

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Spotlight & Giveaway for Flawed Perfection (Beautifully Flawed # 1)

Cassandra Giovanni has recently released the first installment of her New Adult Contemporary Romance series, Beautifully Flawed. Continue on to learn more about the book, read an excerpt along with a Q&A with the author, and enter the swag giveaway!

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Flawed Perfection (Beautifully Flawed #1) by Cassandra Giovanni

Published March 7, 2014 / 450 pages

Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

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Bobby Beckerson was the American All-Star hockey player–he was the spitting image of perfection to his family. Goofy, sweet and undeniably gorgeous, he had everything but the one girl he wanted: River Ahlers.

River Ahlers is successful in everything but love. She’s been in love with Adam Beckerson since they were kids. Worst of all she’s stuck right in the middle of the brothers dueling over everything and anything, and she doesn’t even know she’s the ultimate prize.

Adam Beckerson was a boy with a guitar, a smile that sunk girls’  hearts and a stone wall around his own. He was anything but perfect, and no matter how hard he tried he was nothing compared to Bobby. Sweet, damaged, with boyish good-looks, nobody thought Adam loved anyone but himself.

Bobby loved River, River loved Adam and Adam only loved himself–or so everyone thought. Then one night everything changes, and as it threatens to destroy everyone involved a tragedy strikes that will break them all…

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Book Blitz & Author Interview for Evacuation (The Seamus Chronicles # 2)

K.D. McAdams has released the second installment to The Seamus Chronicles this month. Check out this YA, post-apocalyptic series and enjoy an interview with this author!

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Evacuation (The Seamus Chronicles # 2)  by K. D. McAdams

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Publication Date: March 7, 2014

Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, YA

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They have only one chance for survival, leave… the planet.

The virus that wiped out most of the human race is adapting to defeat the vaccine and kill the survivors. There is a government response protocol but it will kill them too, it involves a nuclear winter. The NASA scientists believe they can leave Earth and achieve faster than light travel, but Seamus doesn’t want to slog through space. He knows that to survive they have to go somewhere fast. To save them all he needs to invent a warp drive and evacuate the planet.

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Book Tour: Author Interview & Giveaway for Shadows of Damascus

This looks like such a touching romance. Read on to learn more about the novel and read an excerpt. You will also find a Q&A with Ms. Taha and have the chance to enter the giveaway!

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Shadows of Damascus by Lilas Taha

Published January 14, 2014

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher:  Soul Mate Publishing

MEDIA KIT Shadows_of_Damascus_copy_2Bullet wounds, torture and oppression aren’t the only things that keep a man—or a woman—from being whole.

Debt. Honor. Pain. Solitude. These are things wounded war veteran Adam Wegener knows all about. Love—now, that he is not good at. Not when love equals a closed fist, burns, and suicide attempts. But Adam is one who keeps his word. He owes the man who saved his life in Iraq. And he doesn’t question the measure of the debt, even when it is in the form of an emotionally distant, beautiful woman.

Yasmeen agreed to become the wife of an American veteran so she could flee persecution in war-torn Syria. She counted on being in the United States for a short stay until she could return home. There was one thing she did not count on: wanting more.

Is it too late for Adam and Yasmeen?

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Release Day for Hard As You Can (Hard Ink #2): Review, Giveaway & Interview with Laura Kaye

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Hard As You Can (Hard Ink #2) by Laura Kaye

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Adult Fiction

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HardAsYouCan Cvr FinalFive dishonored soldiers.
Former Special Forces.
One last mission.
These are the men of Hard Ink.
 

Ever since hard-bodied, drop-dead-charming Shane McCallan strolled into the dance club where Crystal Dean works, he’s shown a knack for getting beneath her defenses. For her little sister’s sake, Crystal can’t get too close. Until her job and Shane’s mission intersect, and he reveals talents that go deeper than she could have guessed. 

Shane would never turn his back on a friend in need, especially a former Special Forces teammate running a dangerous, off-the-books operation. Nor can he walk away from Crystal. The gorgeous waitress is hiding secrets she doesn’t want him to uncover. Too bad. He’s exactly the man she needs to protect her sister, her life, and her heart. All he has to do is convince her that when something feels this good, you hold on as hard as you can—and never let go.

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Book Tour, Giveaway & Author Interview for Soul Slam: Soul Force Series

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Soul Slam (Soul Force Book 1) by Allie Burton

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 Genre: YA, Fantasy

Publication Date: November 2013

A sixteen-year-old on her first heist to steal an ancient Egyptian amulet inadvertently receives the soul of King Tut…and the deadly curse that comes with it.

And Olivia is not alone at the museum.       

A member of a secret Society, Xander believes it is his place to inherit King Tut’s soul and justly rule. He knows nothing about the society’s evil plan to control the world or the curse. Now, he must deal with the female imposter who stole the amulet.

Xander convinces Olivia they must form a temporary partnership. The two teens develop a connection, and together they must figure out how to end the curse before it turns deadly. On the run, unable to touch because of the curse, and dealing with a male soul inside her female body, Olivia must learn to trust Xander.

As the mystery surrounding the amulet unfolds, Olivia and Xander start to fall for each other. But is love enough to save them and the world from destruction?

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18853067-soul-slam?from_search=true

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Blog Tour for A Shadow on the Ground – Author Interview & Giveaway

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A Shadow on the Ground by Rebecca Lee Smith 

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Morgan Maguire is afraid to believe in second chances. The family orchard is failing, her twin brother is being framed for murder, and the sharks are circling. The tough exterior she’s spent years hiding behind is beginning to crumble, just as the man who shattered her heart is back in her life. Gage Kirkland is as compelling and magnetic as ever, and he’s offering the kind of help she may not be able to refuse. But can she trust him?

To finance his troubled son’s therapy, Gage, a former investigator, takes one last job–recovering a stolen Civil War artifact. Unfortunately, it’s in the possession of the woman he left behind, the woman who’s haunted his dreams ever since. The electricity between them still crackles, but unless he helps exonerate her brother and finds a way to confess his true reason for returning, how will he ever recover Morgan’s heart?

Published July 2013

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18401689-a-shadow-on-the-ground?from_search=true

Purchase from Amazon A Shadow on the Ground

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Book Tour & Giveaway for Flick

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After reading the description and watching the intriguing book trailer for Flick, I knew I wanted to read Leanna’s story, and I anticipate her gifts and secrets will lead her on a  journey full of adventure, danger, and suspense!

Flick by Keira Des Anges

Cover_FlickLeanna Matthews enjoys flying below the radar. She does well in school, has a few close friends and hides the fact she’s an astral-traveling telekinetic. But there’s no escaping her creepy dreams or Simora, the bizarre little spirit lady, that suddenly pops out of nowhere to warn her against keeping secrets and predicts an encounter with a sinister evil. For the first time in forever someone…or something…is on to her.

But life turns around when Leanna meets Piper one sunny afternoon. She’s inexplicably drawn to him, almost as if she’s been waiting for him to come. Forbidden to have a boyfriend Leanna throws caution to the wind, lying to her family and friends to be with him, while ignoring Simora’s ominous message.

Yet Piper has a secret of his own. He is on a mission and Leanna, unwittingly, is the key.

Genres: YA, Paranormal, Romance

Purchase from Amazon:  Flick

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Blog Tour & Giveaway for Pentimento

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Pentimento by Cameron Jace

As a fan of dystopian fiction, I’m really looking forward to reading Pentimento in the near future, and right now it’s available for only $.99 cents on Amazon! I’m getting my copy today.  Read on to learn more about the book from an interview with the author and check out the excerpt for the book.  Also, be sure to enter the awesome giveaway!

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Publication date: December 20th, 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19448790-pentimento

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The day Iris Beaumont turns seventeen, she is threatened to be taken by the Beasts, the rulers of the new America. After the destruction of the world, the Beasts provide citizens with whatever they need in exchange for the one teenage girl they enslave every week. They call them the Brides, and they never comes back. Iris isn’t the worrying type though; she’s been defying the system since she was ten and never cared for the Beast’s rules.

Then she meets Colton Ray, who is not like any other boy she’s ever seen. His confidence and dominance are otherworldly she can’t rationalize the attraction she feels for him. Colton had one slight problem though. It’s rumored he is one of the Beast, and Iris could be the next on the Beast’s list.

Book Tour: Author Interview & Giveaway for Easter’s Lilly

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Easter’s Lilly by Judy Serrano

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Release Date:  December 16, 2010

Genre:  Thriller, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Romantic Thriller

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Presented by:  As You Wish Tours

Banner Made by:  Camelia Miron Skiba

It was Easter Sunday; the day Lilly’s life went from safe and comfortable to dangerously unfamiliar. Her transformation takes her from a small town girl having an affair with a low ranked gangster in the Montiago crime syndicate, to a woman of grace and fortitude married to the head of the organization. Easter’s Lilly is an inspired journey from the idyllic to the darker side of self-discovery. Read as the over-privileged brothers embark on their journey that twists and turns down the road of unbridled passion in this first book of the series.

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Blog Tour: Author Interview & Giveaway for Visions of Fire & Ice

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Visions of Fire & Ice: A Petiri Book  by Teresa D’Amario

VisionsTrapped on a planet not their own, the Petiri spend their lives hiding the natural gifts that set them apart from the world. They live long and unfulfilled lives, unable to find their soul mates on this backward planet known as Earth. That is until the night Ramose comes face to face with Tamara, a woman whose gifts rival his own. Determined to find why this human is in possession of an ancient magical Petiri relic, he arranges a meeting.

But Tamara, embittered from past events, is wary despite lifelong dreams of Ramose and a sure knowledge he is her soul mate. Before long the couple find themselves ensnared in a battle that has raged for millennia in Egypt’s desert. Set, Egyptian God of Chaos, is determined to take his just due: the throne of Osiris.

The only way to stop him is for Ramose to put his trust in Tamara, but, first, he must gain the same from her. The ensuing sensual relationship is filled with romance, lust and love. Their relationship is tested by an unnatural evil. Will her powers over fire, combined with his ice be enough to win the day? Or will the ancient gods and goddesses of Egypt destroy more than just their love?

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Book Blitz & Giveaway for Urban Harvest: Tales of the Paranormal in New York City

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Urban Harvest: Tales of the Paranormal in New York City –Anthology

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Publication date: September 22nd 2013 
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

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New York City–it’s home to 8 million people trying to make their way through the day–a crop of humanity seething with hopes and fears, dreams and nightmares. Autumn comes, and nine authors harvest nine tales from this unique setting and people. From stories of everyday life in an otherworldly light to nightmarish tales of human darkness, Urban Harvest has something for everyone.Urban Harvest contains tales of the paranormal from Alex Shvartsman, Laurie Treacy, Donna Ansari, Tara Hill, Laura Wenham, Andrea Stanet, Don Corcoran, Saif Ansari, and Sean Sakamoto.

In keeping with the spirit of harvest, all proceeds from this anthology will go to support City Harvest, an organization that feeds NYC’s hungry.

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Book Tour, Author Interview & Giveaway for Supernova

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On Cleo’s first day at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Academy, things get pretty weird pretty fast. After being confronted by a strangely hostile boy, she meets two girls and instantly bonds with them. Before long danger threatens the entire student body, in the form of a soul eating possessor fae. When her brother is savagely beaten and left in a coma, the girls decide to use their fae powers to become superheroes and stop the possessions.
They quickly learn things are a lot more complicated than they had ever imagined. A government plot that had begun when they were infants endangers them all, and a demented former soldier bent on revenge is after them. The line between friend and foe has become so blurry, Cleo has no idea who she can trust. Will their superhero plot help them save the day, or just get them killed?

Spotlight & Author Interview for The Lightbearers

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The Lightbearers by Nora M. Garcia

Book Description

THE LIGHTBEARERS is the story of an ancient Egyptian King and Queen, Akhenaton and Nefertiti, who have been reincarnating together for the past 3300 years. They have been entrusted with the mission of The Lightbearers, whose responsibility is to be guardians of the human race and to enlighten any whose path they cross. Through reincarnation, during each of their lifetimes, they strive to overcome violence, greed and injustice and in each lifetime they leave pockets of individuals with whom they have shared their secrets of life and death. They have also been ascribed with the powers of telepathy, astral projection and psycho kinesis. They are highly evolved and highly enlightened.Discovery of their innate mystical powers is facilitated by the assistance of an alien being who introduces them to the mission of the Lightbearer. Through a series of flashbacks two of their previous lifetimes are revealed beginning in Ancient Egypt and including 17th century France where they switched genders.The story unfolds in the 21st century where Jean Crystal, Nefertiti’s incarnate, has been kidnapped by Dr. Natas, whose plan for world domination has been temporarily disrupted by Jean and her husband George, Akhenaten’s incarnate. Jean and George have discovered a secret about Dr. Natas experimental school, a school completely computerized and robotized.

Jean is held captive on a laboratory table by a motion sensitive laser directed toward her central nervous system. Not realizing this, upon awakening from a narcotic sleep induced by the doctor, she attempts to move and is suddenly wracked by a mind numbing pain. The more she moves the more pain she receives. By astrally projecting herself she is able to overcome the pain and investigate her circumstances. George has already been assassinated and while awaiting her own demise, George pays Jean a visit in the lab, assuring her of their eternal vow to each other. Jean is very shortly, thereafter, assassinated. Upon the joyful reunion of their spirits on Petite Terre, a tiny island just off the Normandy Province of France, Jean and George plan their return. While it is possible to determine their gender and the time in which they return, they cannot predetermine their identities. They must pick a place, a time and a signal by which they can find and identify each other in their subsequent lifetime. In this particular lifetime, their favorite song was “Imagine” by John Lennon and so on the first Monday of October, 2024 at 12 noon, they decide to meet outside the computer science building on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles. She will find him sitting under a tree near the building with a guitar strumming “Imagine”.

Their reunion takes place 20 years later, albeit not without a hitch. Together they set out to rescue the United States from Dr. Natas’s well-placed plans, he has already begun to execute.

 

An Interview with Nora 

Where did the inspiration behind The Lightbearers come from?

I would have to say it’s a combination of my belief in reincarnation, my faith in the spiritual world and my fascination with ancient Egypt.  They all came together one evening and it was as though someone was piping something into my ear.  Oddly enough, the end came first, it was just a seed of an idea, two weeks later, the middle and the beginning came, again as seeds of an idea and it took off from there.

I had a very other wordly experience in the NY Public Library when I began my research.  I was walking through the Egyptian section and there was no one else around when suddenly a book fell off the shelf and landed at my feet.  It was the story of Akhenaten, about whom I eventually created a fantasy.  He was light years ahead of his time as was Nefertiti, his wife, and they became my inspiration.

 How would you compare writing this book with anything you have previously written?

I also write feature films and the process is very different as you have to pack a lot in with very few words compared to what you can express in a book.

 How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurned you on?

Many years ago, I read a book that I thought would make a wonderful movie and decided to adapt the book to a screenplay.  I did not reach out to the author until I finished it I wanted to see if I could see it through and I did. Unfortunately, the author himself was also a screenplay writer and was in the process of trying to market  the script.  He was very complimentary to me and encouraged me to continue writing.  It was at that point that I decided I would have to write a book.

How do you organise your writing time? 

I have to work around my day job, so I write mostly in the evenings and on the weekend

Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and able to let your creative juices flow? 

I have an office in my apartment  where I can write.  It’s not the ideal situation, but it works.

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know. 

I am able to tap into my dreaming mind to reveal to me solutions to writing challenges when I cannot  make something work.  If I meditate on it and ask my dreaming mind to reveal a solution, it usually provides me with one.  I’ve also experienced out of body experiences where I projected myself astrally.  You see I really believe that if we tapped into our minds on a higher plane, we are all capable of astral projection, telepathy and psycho-kinesis.

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About the Author

NoraBorn, raised and educated in New York City, Nora now makes her home in Southern California where, recently divorced, she enjoys a successful career in the media business.  When Nora first began researching The Lightbearers, she went to the New York Public Library and immediately headed for the Egyptian section.  While walking down the empty aisles a book suddenly fell off the shelf and landed at her feet.  It turned out to be Akhenaten’s biography; Nora was immediately captivated with his story and hence the creation of a fantasy about Akhenatena and Nefertiti.

Purchase from Amazon by clicking on the cover

ARC Review & Author Interview for Hot Pursuit (HOT #1)

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Hot Pursuit (Hostile Operations Team #1) by Lynn Raye Harris

Book Description

The last man she ever wanted to see…
Might be the only one who can save her…
Things are about to get HOT in the bayou!

Evie Baker’s luck just ran out. Thanks to an ex-partner with organized crime ties, she’s lost her restaurant, her money, and nearly all her self-respect. Forced to return to her hometown and work as a shampoo girl in her mother’s salon, she doesn’t think her luck can get any worse.

But then someone starts shooting at her, her sullen baby sister is suddenly missing, and the high school heartthrob who stole her heart—and her virginity—is the only man big enough and bad enough to help.

Captain Matt “Richie Rich” Girard can’t afford to get involved. He’s already on the verge of a court-martial after a Top Secret op gone wrong, and he’s been ordered to stay out of trouble while he’s home for his sister’s wedding.

But when Evie’s ex-partner turns up dead, staying out of trouble is the last thing on Matt’s mind. He failed Evie once before; he can’t fail her again. If he’s going to protect her from a killer, and find her sister before time runs out, he’ll have to risk his entire future—and both their lives—to do it.

Book Review

Romantic suspense revolving around military heroes and heroines  is one of my favorite genres, and I was so excited to learn about the new Hostile Operation Team series that Lynn Raye Harris has created and have the opportunity to review the first book, Hot Pursuit.

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This first book introduces us to HOT, a new special ops force within the U.S. Army and centers on Captain Matt “Richie Rich” Girard’s team.  Matt is the hero of this book, and when the story opens, he is back in his hometown of Rochambeau, Louisiana, waiting for an upcoming hearing that will determine his future with HOT because of the team’s last failed mission where two team members were killed.  Matt is not in a good emotional place at this point. He’s weary, worried, and, I sense a deep loneliness within him.

Matt Girard

When he walks into the local beauty salon for a haircut, I’m sure he doesn’t expect to see the woman he hurt ten years ago. Evie Baker certainly doesn’t want to face the handsome, wealthy, popular Matt in front of a bunch of gossips and especially now, when she thinks she’s hit rock bottom.  After losing her beloved restaurant because of scheming accountant and former lover, Evie has been forced to return home to try to start her life all over again while working in her mother’s hair salon…the same one Matt enters.

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Matt and Evie were close childhood friends, but then puberty hit, and Matt left her behind when he began to notice other girls. However, Evie developed a serious crush on Matt until he humiliated her and broke her heart after she gave him her most precious gift.

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To make the situation even worse, everyone in the town heard about the scandal. Matt leaves for college soon after, while Evie is left to deal with the swirling rumors and hurtful remarks.

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In the opening scene, Evie is hiding out, hoping to avoid Matt, and just as she’s about to slip out the back door, her mother instigates their awkward confrontation with the “Don’t you remember my daughter?” line. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes because that is just like something my mother would do to me. So, I connected with Evie right from the get-go. The teenage years are difficult and I’m sure most of us have our own embarrassing memories that we’d rather forget.

I also grew up in a small town where it doesn’t take much to become grist for the gossip mill.

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Whereas, I probably would have taken the easy way out—using the back door—Evie stands up straight, holds her head high, and approaches Matt in front of all those inquiring eyes. Go Evie!

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Evie is an emotionally strong woman. I admire that even after losing everything, she isn’t a “woe is me,” victim. I also like that she doesn’t totally blame Matt for the pain he caused. She acknowledges her part in the situation and, she is upfront with him about what really hurt her. When she realizes she needs Matt’s help to find her missing sister, she puts the past aside without constantly harping on it.  Moreover, Evie handles herself well in dangerous situations. One of the best scenes in the book is the intense car chase with Evie behind the wheel listening as Matt coaches her on how to outmaneuver their chasers.  The scene is so vivid that I felt as if I were watching it take place.

Overall, Evie isn’t reckless, but she also doesn’t hesitate to jump into the fray just in case Matt needs to be saved:

“I thought you were going to wait.”

Her wild gaze landed on his face. “You took so long I thought something happened. I was coming to help.”

Matt closed his eyes. Saints preserve him from women who thought he couldn’t take care of himself.”

I like her gumption and I think, secretly, Matt does too!

Yes, I was disappointed in Matt for his thoughtless behavior, and, initially, I wasn’t sure I was going to like him, but as his character developed and his painful past growing up in a dysfunctional family is revealed, I was able to empathize with him, even though what he did was absolutely wrong.  Plus, he just melts my butter when he slips into using Cajun French to comfort and soothe Evie.

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It’s a challenge to smoothly incorporate a romance into an action-packed plot fraught with danger, but Harris does it well so that the romance is believable, and the intimate scenes between them are appropriate to the situation.  I always struggle with plots where the couple temporarily forgets their lives are in danger, and even though the clock ticks away, they don’t seem to have a problem getting into the mood for sex. Kudos to Harris for making it work.

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I can feel the strong connection that still exists between Matt and Evie. The depth of their childhood friendship and their simmering sexual chemistry make it difficult for them to remain emotionally distant from each other.  I think Matt realizes this when he first sees Evie:

“There was something about having her near, something that sparked inside him and made him feel somewhat human again. He didn’t know why, and he didn’t know if it would last.

But he liked it. For the first time in months, he felt as if he could breathe again. As if he’d come home for real instead of simply going through the motions.”

And for Evie, Matt has always been more than a teenage crush:

 “…here she stood ready to lose herself in him one more time. Because there’d always been more between them than just one night. Because they went back a long ways, and she’d love him as a friend long before she’d ever fallen for him as a man.” 

Over and over in the story, Matt shows Evie that he is no longer the self-absorbed, inconsiderate jerk she remembers, and she fears that being around the man Matt has become puts her heart in jeopardy of being broken again. However, both have issues to resolve before they can take their feelings for each other to the next level. Evie doesn’t understand why Matt would choose to put his life in danger every day, and Matt doesn’t feel he has anything to offer Evie since his future is so uncertain. For all he knows, he may end up in a military prison for his recent actions.

Hot Pursuit has a well-written, unified storyline that brings readers full circle by its conclusion. The plot contains several surprises that I didn’t foresee

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that raise the stakes and build to an exciting, suspenseful climax.

Every scene contains a complication or conflict so there is never a lull in the action or drama, and I was eagerly turning the pages to see what would happen next.

To sum up, I am now a HOT fan and encourage all your romantic suspense readers to check out this hawt series!

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I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Since the quotes are from a pre-published copy, they may have changed or been omitted from the final version.

Rating

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About the Author

LRHarrisUSA Today bestselling author Lynn Raye Harris burst onto the scene when she won a writing contest held by Harlequin. The prize was an editor for a year — but only six months later, Lynn sold her first novel.

Lynn has written over fifteen novels for Harlequin and been nominated for several awards, including the Romance Writer’s of American’s Golden Heart award and the National Readers Choice Awards.

Lynn lives in Alabama with her handsome former-military husband and two crazy cats.

Author Links

Website: http://www.LynnRayeHarris.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLynnRayeHarris

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LynnRayeHarris

Interview with Lynn Raye Harris

I want to give a huge thanks to Lynn for taking the time to allow me to interview her about the HOT series! 

Can you tell us about yourself and what led you to begin writing?

I was raised in a military family and then I married a military man.  I was also a voracious reader from an early age, and I loved romance novels when I first read them as a pre-teen.  I always knew I wanted to write, but I didn’t always know what I wanted to write about.  One day, my husband bought me a computer and told me to stop talking about it and just do it.  That was the beginning and my first romance novel was a huge 800-page medieval romance.  It did not get published (rightfully so), but I had so much fun I kept writing.  Life got in the way, as it often does, but I got serious about getting published around 2005.  In 2008, I won a contest sponsored by Harlequin – and they bought my first book.  I’ve sold 20 books to them, and now I’m working on my own series, which is the HOT series.

Your new book Hot Pursuit is the first in the new Hostile Operations Team (HOT) series. What inspired the creation of this series?

I was actually working on this story before I sold to Harlequin!  I loved stories about military guys and I wanted to write my own.  Being married to a military guy, and being raised in a military family, I kinda know the lingo.  I had to make up the team, obviously, and some of what they do isn’t strictly authentic – but that’s why I made them up.  My world, my rules.  😉

Why did you choose Louisiana as the primary setting for this book?

I’ve lived in Louisiana, though not in Cajun country, and have family who still live around New Orleans.  It’s such a wonderful culture, so rich and full of interesting people – and the food!  Oh, there’s nothing like Cajun/Creole cooking.  Mmm.

Which character is your favorite and why?

Oh my.  Well, I love Evie’s grit but I also love a tortured hero, so I don’t know.  I love them both!

What have been the most enjoyable and challenging experiences for you in creating this series/ writing this book?

I think what’s both enjoyable and challenging is keeping the suspense turned up while also keeping the romance hot and tense.  I hate when characters stop in the middle of a run for their lives to have sex, so I knew that wasn’t going to happen here.  But I needed it to still be romantic and filled with romantic tension while they solved the puzzle.  As for the whole series, I think I just love these guys so much and can’t wait to write all the books.  OTOH, I worry about doing them justice.  It’s a challenge to keep the stories fresh and compelling!

What is your favorite scene in the book?

Well, I love the love scenes, of course.  But I also love when Evie has to drive the getaway car.  I researched that quite heavily.  I based it on teenage antics on dirt roads and real defensive driving.  Alas, I have not actually spun a car into a 180 myself. 😉  But there’s always time for that, heh.

Which scene was the most difficult for you to write?

Evie telling her mother that her sister was missing.  I tried it several different ways, and then I realized that the best way was for the scene to be in Matt’s point of view.  Much too emotional to be in Evie’s POV for that scene!

If you were to develop a musical playlist to accompany Hot Pursuit what would you choose as the #1 song, and why?

I’m so bad at this kind of thing!  Some books I know exactly what the music is.  Others I don’t.  And this is one where I can’t think of the song I’d choose.  Truthfully, I probably listened to a lot of Bon Jovi while writing it. 😉  Also, when I first started this one, I was living in Hawaii – I’m going to guess I listened to some Hawaiian music too!

What authors have had a significant influence on your writing?

I’ve read so much that I can’t say for certain.  I’m like a giant sieve and I hope that I’ve distilled all the best I can from what I’ve read.  For romantic suspense in particular, though, I’d name Linda Howard, Cindy Gerard, Roxanne St. Claire, and Suzanne Brockmann.  I hope I’m half as good as they are because they are all amazing writers!

What can we anticipate/expect from the next book in the series?  Will each book in the series be able to stand alone?

This is the fun part!  Next up is a novella called Hot Mess.  It’s about a new recruit to the HOT world, Sam “Knight Rider” McKnight and his best friend’s little sister, Georgeanne Hayes.  It’s very hot and steamy!  Georgie has always been in love with Sam, but he’s always kept her off limits.  Then she gets tangled up with some bad guys and Sam has to take her to a safe house while HOT investigates.  Oh my, the things they get up to at that safe house…. 😉

After Hot Mess, which should be out in September, there’s Dangerously Hot, which is about Kevin “Big Mac” MacDonald and the woman he loved and lost, Lucky San Ramos.  I hope to have their book ready to go by Valentine’s Day!  After that, there’ll be Hot Shot, which is about Jack “Hawk” Hunter.  If I’m very lucky and inspired, that book will be out by next summer.  All the stories will be standalone at this point!  Of course they’re fun when read as a set, but I don’t intend to leave anything unsolved with any of the romances from one book to the next.

*****

Start the series now:

Click on the book cover to purchase from Amazon

 

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Since Lynn mentioned that she listened to Bon Jovi while writing Hot Pursuit,  I picked a couple of their songs that I found relevant to Matt & Evie.

Although Matt hurt Evie in the past, he’s here for her now, even risking his career to help her save her sister.

Bon Jovi “I’ll Be There for You”

Evie isn’t happy about having to return to her hometown where she always felt she never quite fit in.  Yet, it’s here where she finds the support and love that she needs to get her through the tough times.

Bon Jovi & Jennifer Nettles:  “Who Says You can’t Go Home Again.” 

Spotlight & Author Interview for Tongues of Angels

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Tongues of Angels by Julia Park Tracey

Book Description

A Catholic priest with questions. A penitent woman with a secret past. A jealous friend. The fourth in this lover’s knot? God.

Father Rob Souza faces the forbidden desire of his own heart when Jessica, victim of a brutal assault, comes for counseling. Rob’s best friend, Lawrence, is a priest with an artistic temperament and trials of his own. A Greek chorus of gossiping priests, and church politics riddled with suspicion and battling for souls, force Lawrence, Rob and Jessica to make choices they didn’t intend.

Tongues of Angels offers a peek behind the curtain of the priesthood, offering a funny, poignant look at Catholic angst and ambiguity. Based on a true story, Tongues of Angels is a canny, warm and surprisingly spiritual novel for our time. Now back in print for the 10th Anniversary Edition, through Indie-Visible Ink.

“Julia Park Tracey brings wicked honesty and scathingly hot nuance to this soulful novel; with crackling prose, she seduces readers. Tongues of Angels is both sexy and spiritual.” —Jordan Rosenfeld, author of Forged in Grace

Read the Prologue from Tongues of Angels

On feast days he wore red, the blood red of virgin martyrs and cardinals. His brocade chasuble, a heavy mantle that draped him from his collar to his shoes, was piped with gold, curved at the hem, with a slit for his head. When he walked he seemed to glide, and when he held his hands out to consecrate the Eucharist, the chasuble shifted to reveal his arms, cloaked in white from the linen alb he wore underneath, exposing the narrow cuffs of his black clerical shirt beneath the alb, layer under layer that ended at the naked brown skin of his hands.

Father Robert Souza was a Roman Catholic priest, under the chasuble and alb, and clerical collar (size Pontiff 3) and the black shirt and slacks that are the uniform of the priest.

And under that, boxer shorts.

And under those, the man.

Rob had deliberated over the boxers. For years he had worn bleached white shorts that his mother had ironed, yes, ironed with a heavy hand and an ancient iron that she ran over paraffin for a crisp sheen. When he was old enough to buy his own shorts, he switched to tight, bright bikini briefs, which had amused his fellow seminarians and given him adolescent moments in front of the mirror, admiring his physique, a blue-collar Portuguese boy in Speedos, building muscles to lift a chalice. His former girlfriend had once given him some black silk boxers which he still kept but never wore; after ordination, Rob bought white briefs that somehow conferred respectability with their simple, practical function, and suited his position in the parish.

Then once, when Rob visited with some parishioners who suffered infertility problems, the husband explained how briefs lowered his sperm count and how, that for healthy sperm, a man should wear looser shorts. Rob worked through the issue as if it were a syllogism, a geometric proof: If tight shorts lower the sperm count, and lower sperm count can affect fertility, then men should wear loose shorts to ensure fertility. But when he added the x factor of celibate priesthood into the equation, he faltered. He didn’t need a sperm count, high or low. Rob stood before the underwear kiosk in a department store on his day off, anonymous and average in his jeans and chambray shirt, and weighed his decision.

When a man has a vocation to the priesthood, he must meet certain qualifications to be ordained: be at least twenty-four years old, a legitimate child, and of sound mind and body, although the Bishop could dispense most impediments. Rob himself had received a dispensation from the Bishop because he had been a few months shy of his twenty-fourth birthday at his ordination six years before, and one of Rob’s classmates received a dispensation because of an undescended testicle. St. Thomas Aquinas had preached, long before the invention of the microscope, that each drop of a man’s seed was like a tiny man, thus sacred, and despite more modern medical understanding, the Catholic doctrine was the same. Although a priest must never put his gift to use, the living seed must be cherished. Rob, sound of mind and body, poised to choose between the guilty freedom of boxer shorts versus the ball-crushing, sperm-killing snap of tight elastic, was glad to have worked it out.

He had worn boxers ever since.

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Interview with Julia Park Tracey

How did you come up with the title?

Tongues of Angels is from a beautiful, beloved quote from the Bible that says, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” It says that no matter how beautifully I speak, if I don’t have love in my life or in my heart, I am just making noise. This quote sums up the theme of the novel, in essence: These priests are just going through the motions and cannot be truly spiritual (e.g. they are just making noise) if they don’t have love in their hearts or in their lives. “Love” could also mean being content or spiritually satisfied – but in many cases, even companionship is denied. So the church is being led by people without love in their hearts. It is only noise.

Can you tell us about your main character?

Rob Souza is a young American Catholic priest who has been in the job for six years and suddenly finds himself questioning his  calling. He wants to be a priest, but more and more, he feels like something is missing. It’s his crisis, not of faith, but in the institution of celibacy for priests. He’s lonely, and wishes he could have companionship, a wife, kids. And since this is utterly against everything he’s ever known, it’s a terrible ache and a dangerous place for him to linger. Church politics and gossip are his worst enemies – or is he his own worst enemy?

Why did you choose to write this particular book?

My ex-husband was a Catholic priest before we married; he chose to leave the church, and over 15 years, we frequently had his friends over for dinner, BBQ and parties. They talked about their daily lives as priests: their worries, woes, triumphs, intense schedules, and so much gossip. I wanted to capture the flavor of that, and I did so in several scenes. I also wanted to tell the story of how a heterosexual priest has to choose marriage or the church. For the gay priests, this issue just didn’t seem as difficult, in my experience.

How did you develop your plot and characters?

I truly began with simple dialogue. Suddenly all these priests were speaking in my head and I had to let them talk. The things they said were the catty, vicious, naughty, hilarious, innuendo-laden gossip that I heard at my own dining room table. So sassy! Each priest in Tongues of Angels is based on several real priests I know (so are the nuns). They are more archetypal in the novel, but if you know a lot of priests, you probably know one of these guys.

What was the hardest part about writing this book?

I didn’t want it to be The Thorn Birds, which is just deliciously gratuitous priest-sex. I wanted to show spiritual longing, and how close to sexual longing it can be. Desire for oneness with G*d, for example, can be as deeply affecting as falling in love with someone. We’re discouraged from thinking of sex and spirituality together – it’s “sinful”! But Carl Jung said he’d never seen a sexual problem that was not also a religious problem, and vice versa. Those spiritual/sexual/ecstatic impulses come from the same part of the brain. So it’s no wonder they collide. And, oh, what calamity ensues!

What genre are you most comfortable writing?

I do best in literary fiction vs. genre fiction. I am originally a poet, and I can’t help but think poetically. However, I’m also a journalist by trade, so I’m able to write nonfiction comprehensibly and easily; that’s where I’ve won all my awards. Creative nonfic is probably the best place for me, but I have these stories to tell. So I wander and dabble.

What inspired you to write your first book? My first novel (under the bed somewhere) is a thriller inspired by a newspaper photograph of a runaway girl. I wanted to tell her story. I spent 4 years telling it. I couldn’t get her sad face out of my mind. But also – someone at my 5-year high school reunion said, “Oh, I’ll bet before we see her again, she’ll write a book.” I felt challenged by that – and before the 10th reunion, I had.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

I went to a writer’s conference as a young poet, feeling nervous and insecure, and an established poet was condescending and insulting to me. Instead of realizing he was a sexist jerk, I took his words to heart and believed that I was wasting my time. I didn’t write for about three years after that. He broke my heart. But I believed him instead of believing in myself. That’s really the key. You have to put on your writing self as you put on a cloak – it is all yours, and no one can take it off of you without your permission. I slowly learned to wear my cloak again. And it’s all mine. I will wear this til death!

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?

Ernest Hemingway says in A Moveable Feast to write one true thing every day. He doesn’t mean in your journal. He means to write one beautifully, emotionally true thing. If that is describing the color of the sunrise under a birds wings, or what your morning coffee tastes like, that’s as true as writing anything else. Your Facebook status can be your one true thing – if it’s honest and heartfelt.

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?

I really learned about structuring a novel, about creating resonance, about revision. I was in my graduate fiction workshops at the time and they were a tough crowd, believe me. Sharpened knives. I also took it to writing conferences, and there were sharp knives there, too. I learned to have a tougher skin from those sessions, but also how to kill my darlings. I killed off three beloved characters for the final draft. That’s about half the volume. That was hard – but necessary. You see only palimpsests of these characters in the final story.

Why did you choose to write this particular book?

I originally began it as a way to tell my then-husband’s priest story – it was called “A Priest’s Tale.” But reality was very different from where the story wanted to go. I went with the story instead of the documentary-style tell-all. One of my poetry professors told me, “Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good poem,” and the same is true of a story. I had to leave “the real story” behind very early on in order to make beloved characters and believable plot and action. So it’s based, somewhat, in truth, but it is by no means a true story.

How much of the book is realistic?

The gossiping priests; the post-traumatic stress of Jessica, the scarlet woman; the stress that the priests live with during various church seasons like Christmas or Easter; misogyny in much of the priesthood; scenes from the seminary; the clash of reforming liturgy vs. classical liturgy; and the Catholic and Christian theology – I read so much theology and canon law when writing this. You can bet it’s solid.

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot?

I could name names. It’s best that I don’t. These people gave me their stories but prefer to remain anonymous.

Do you have any advice for writers?

I’m not one of those who says, “Write for 30 minutes every day,” or other such advice. I prefer Hemingway’s “one true thing” – just try to write that, every day, and you’ll make progress. I find that when I get stuck, I do well to write three Morning Pages (from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way) and that usually gets me back on track. I don’t get blocked. Sometimes I just don’t feel like writing. And that’s cool. Walking, gardening, knitting, kneading bread, taking a bath or shower – these are other ways to percolate the juice. If you get stuck, go do one of those. Another trick I use is to type my handwritten notes (after an interview or research). That kick-starts the engine as well.

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing since I could write with a pencil – about third grade, when I started writing poems, and fourth grade, when I started writing books in pads of paper; in ninth grade I really started writing poetry, and took high school newspaper, which catapulted me into college newspaper and freelance writing. I was paid for my first magazine article when I was 19. I have been writing professionally for 30 years.

When did you first know you could be a writer?

I knew I could be a journalist from high school – but I differentiated “work” writing from “real” writing for many years. Journalism (newspaper, magazines, editing, blogging) paid the bills but felt like cheating because I was then too tired to write a poem. I felt like I was only really writing when I could get a draft of a poem down. In my 40s, I made peace with both sides of the heart and became better at both kinds of writing. My journalism became easier and more poetic; my poetry eased into everyday life. Writing is writing. It doesn’t have to live in hierarchy.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

My great-aunt Doris passed away two years ago and left me her diaries from the 1920s. I fell in love with her writing style and have been publishing her diaries on Facebook and Twitter, a few lines at a time. (Visit Facebook/TheDorisDiaries or Twitter @TheDorisDiaries). Last fall the first volume was published by IV Ink; I’ve Got Some Lovin’ to Do: The Diaries of a Roaring Twenties Teen (1925-1926), which contains these boy-crazy, hair-raising flapper stories from an eyewitness to the times. The second volume is due out this fall, and it’s called Reaching for the Moon: More Diaries of a Roaring Twenties Teen (1927-1929). You can read more about this project at www.thedorisdiaries.com. (Both of those are edited and annotated by me.)

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I have not traveled with Tongues of Angels, but I travel a lot for The Doris Diaries. In March, I went to several high schools, girls’ clubs, women’s clubs and libraries to speak about Doris for Women’s History Month. Last fall I traveled 4,000 miles by train to speak in libraries, bookstores and in speakeasies from Portland, Oregon, to Albuquerque. I was in Portland again in March, and will be on the road again with Volume Two of the Doris Diaries in September. I hope to hit the East Coast this year.

Who is your publisher?

My publisher is Indie-Visible Ink, an excellent consortium of women who work together to produce and promote works of literary fiction, fantasy, YA, mystery, essays, and creative nonfiction (www.indie-visible.com). These women are strong, smart and sassy. I couldn’t do it without them. Look for them on GoodReads, Smashwords, and Amazon.

What contributes to making a writer successful?

The work is never done. I will never stop writing til I drop dead because there is always more to write. If you want to be a professional writer – leave your job and do this fulltime – you have to be prepared to work nonstop, at blogging, freelance, promoting, marketing, reviewing, teaching, sharing, volunteering, and so on. Freelance work is a sales job – you have to keep it flowing so that the next check comes in six months. Writing books is the same thing. They don’t write themselves, and they don’t promote themselves, either. Someone has to write those tweets, and someone has to check all the various media sites, and Google alerts, and email, and so on. That someone is you. Either you’ll be a success or you won’t — because either you’ll do the work or you won’t.

About the Author

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Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning writer, editor, and activist. Her women’s history project, The Doris Diaries (www.thedorisdiaries.com), is a series of early 20th century diaries penned by her great aunt; they include I’ve Got Some Lovin’ to Do: The Diaries of a Roaring Twenties Teen (1925-1926) and Reaching for the Moon: More Diaries of a Roaring Twenties Teen (1927-1929), both through Indie-Visible Ink. She lives in Northern California.

Follow Julia at http://www.juliaparktracey.com

 

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