Monday, January 28, 2013

Haunting Dark Music


Today 2 Wild Women Authors are pleased to welcome author E. F. Watkins who brings Quinn Matthews from her paranormal mystery Dark Music, a January 2013 release from Amber Quill Press, LLC.
First, a brief synopsis of today's featured story: Dark Music:
When single, 30-something Quinn Matthews buys a Victorian house in the New Jersey suburbs from a relative, she finally owns the home of her dreams. She tries to ignore the peculiar chill she feels whenever she goes near the attic, where her late uncle suffered a fatal heart attack.
Quinn, who writes about architecture and interior design for a living, plans to restore the place in true 19th-century style. Her efforts are hampered, though, by strange accidents. She also hears classical piano music and gunshots from no earthly source, and finds eerie messages on a wall, a notepad and even her computer. An unstable next-door neighbor accuses her of “stirring up trouble” with her renovations.
Finally, Quinn accepts that her dream house is haunted. But the ghosts don't want her gone--they want her to right a terrible wrong that took place in 1897.
A latent psychic gift makes Quinn identify strongly with their sufferings. Soon, she feels the strain on her relationships, her finances and even her sanity. To lay the ghosts to rest and keep the house she loves, she must re-investigate the murder of its first owner--a dashing classical pianist whose love life was far from “Victorian.”

Where are you from, Quinn? Northern New Jersey, the Attitude Capitol of the U.S.A.!
What is Dark Music about? It tells how I bought a Victorian house I’d admired all my life—it belonged to my late aunt and uncle—and found out after I moved in that it was haunted, but not by my relatives…These spirits went back a lot further. They never even bothered my relatives very much, but for some reason they really latched onto me and nearly drove me insane. Maybe because I have some slight psychic abilities, they saw me as the perfect person to finally solve a murder that took place at the house more than 100 years ago. I soon realized the only way I’d get them out of my house was to do what they wanted, if I possibly could. But talk about a “cold case”--!
What made you choose writing about architecture and interior design as a profession? I started out as a general-assignment reporter on my local newspaper, but covering town council meetings and interviewing local politicians bored me silly. I’d minored in art in college, and when the paper’s interior design writer retired, I applied for her spot. I’ve always been especially fascinated by older buildings…though I’m a little more wary of them now that I’ve discovered I’m a magnet for ghosts!
Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you still buy your house? I had an inkling the place was haunted before I moved in, but I went ahead anyhow. Of course, I had no idea the hell those ghosts would put me through, or that they would stir up psychic “gifts” I’d just as soon have let lie dormant. The whole ordeal took an emotional and physical toll on my friends, too. On the other hand, the experience certainly taught me more about myself. I know now that I have the ability to help spirits move on…and to give the folks they’re haunting some peace, too.
What is your biggest fear? That I’ll encounter a spirit or other entity that’s too much for me to handle, and lose control. I “channeled” a ghost, at one point, and it was way too much like possession to suit me! I could have hurt somebody while in that state without ever intending to.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Gail Kleinholtz, a professional psychic who has become sort of my mentor, reassured me that a ghost can’t directly harm a living person—that people are only injured because they overreact in fear. I’m not so sure of that, but it has given me the courage to actually stand up to and talk back to spirits. Amazingly, they do seem to respect that!
Now, it's E. F. Watkins turn at bat. Which authors have had a major impact on your writing? My early favorite was Ira Levin, the author of Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives. I loved the way he inserted the paranormal very subtly and gradually into the everyday lives of modern, intelligent people, until they ended up having to accept and cope with the unbelievable. One of my strongest influences in writing the Quinn Matthews Haunting Mysteries has been Barbara Michaels (a.k.a. Elizabeth Peters), because she was the first mystery writer I came across who used “real” paranormal elements in her plots. The ghost, curse or possessed object wasn’t just a clever trick, it really was supernatural. She gave me confidence to do the same thing, because I’ve always loved paranormal plots.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I love a good villain! I’ve always been fascinated by Dracula, because he has so many different aspects to him. Among villainesses, I love Rebecca (from the book of the same name), because she exerts such a malignant influence over everyone, even from beyond the grave.
With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? I talked to and read books by credible psychics to be able to describe their experiences with hauntings. I also researched daily life in the New Jersey/New York area at the turn of the century and the experiences of Irish immigrants at that time.
Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept? I wrote the first version of this book a long time ago as more of a horror novel, because at the time that’s what was selling. But it never found a publisher in that form, and I always saw it as a quieter story. The ghosts in Quinn’s house aren’t trying to kill her or drive her out—they want her to expose a terrible injustice that took place over a century ago. When I re-envisioned the story a “cold case” murder mystery—adding the modern-day threat of a disturbed and dangerous next-door neighbor—it came together as the story I always intended to tell.
Tell us a bit about your publisher, E.F.. How did you hear about them? I was a founding member of the Garden State Horror Writers (now Garden State Speculative Fiction Writers), and around 2002 we had a speaker who talked about the new phenomenon of ebook publishing. She was interested in my vampire thriller Dance with the Dragon, and suggested I send it to her publisher. That company evolved into Amber Quill Press, which now publishes both ebooks and trade paperbacks, and Dance with the Dragon was one of the first books they put out in 2003. (It went on to win a 2004 EPPIE ebook award for Best Horror Novel.)
What influenced your decision to submit to them? I had tried the traditional route for many years, but my books always crossed genres, which made them problematic for traditional publishers. I discovered that small and “indie” publishers (here meaning independent, not self-publishing) were more open to quirky plots, such as mixing mystery with paranormal. Amber Quill has turned out to be a great fit for my work.
Tell us a bit about their submission process. How long did it take from query to release? Dark Music will be my seventh book with AQP, so at this point the submission process goes pretty fast. I email them a brief, informal query giving the premise of the book; if they think it sounds promising, they ask me to email them the whole MS., and in a few days they let me know if it’s accepted. They then put it on track for publication and it goes to my regular editor. She sends me her edits and I make the necessary changes; after that I get a galley, which is usually pretty close to finished except for any mechanical errors that might have cropped up in the layout process.

Meanwhile, I work with the Editorial Director on cover ideas. After that, the book is on track to come out. What I love is that with a small press like AQP this happens in four to six months, rather than the year-and-a-half time lag I might get with a larger publisher. I am sorry to say, though, that with very few exceptions AQP is closed to new, outside submissions and has been for some time. By now, the company has a large stable of authors, and I guess we’re so prolific that we give them all the work they can handle! Even I have a second Quinn Matthews book waiting in the wings…

thanks so much, EF and Quinn. Dark Music sounds so interesting and it's been a nice follow-up to an earlier feature with paranormal influences--as well as learning about a new to us Amber Quill Press. We hope you'll come back soon!
Veronica and Kat

To learn more about E. F. Watkins and the stories she creates, go to: www.efwatkins.com.
To purchase Dark Music, go to http://www.amberquill.com/DarkMusic.html


Friday, January 25, 2013

Today's Headlines

There are days when I simply should not open a newspaper or turn on the computer to learn about what's going on outside my own private haven of Western New York on the shores of Lake Ontario.

Lance Armstrong. People who believed and trusted this bullying sociopath for low these many years now stand back and ask why? BECAUSE HE COULD, PEOPLE.

I will not comment on this child-man Manti Te'o. If I was his mother, I'd wear a bag over my head--that would be after I kicked this kid's butt from here to Honolulu.

Angelina Jolie is or might be preggers again. SURELY THIS WILL GAIN HER THE ATTENTION SHE FEELS SHE DESERVES AS SHE STRETCHES OUT HER UTERUS YET AGAIN.

The NBA Hornets changes its name to the Pelicans. Have you seen the logo? ALL THAT WATTLE HANGING TO MID CHEST IS SO ATTRACTIVE.

Paula Deen, her husband and sons have lost a totel of 170 pounds. 'Everything in moderation" she says. NOW IF SHE ONLY LEARN TO MODERATE THAT EXAGGERATED TWANG SHE ASSUMES FOR HER SHOWS.

But the absolute ult is this FEMALE New Mexico legislator, Cathryn Brown, R-Carlsbad, who recently introduced a bill which would make obtaining an abortion after rape or incest a felony, punishable by several years in jail because [GET THIS CAUSE IT'S A PIP] the procedure would destroy evidence of the crime.
     As if a rape or incest victim isn't already serving time in his or her mind, isn't already destroyed.
    As if law enforcement and forensic experts need help collecting evidence LONG BEFORE a pregnancy could be diagnosed.
I WONDER WHO REP BROWN, IN HER INFINITE WISDOM, IS LISTENING TO that she would compose legislation which is so misogynistic and abusive. Clearly she did not speak to local victim advocates. Perhaps victim serving agencies are banned in that part of the States? After all, we don't want to give victims of violence a voice to help them regain control of their lives.

As I said, I need to stop reading the headlines and turning on ESPN.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Welcome a US Navy SEAL and . . . his weapon of choice

After reading this story you may never view popsicles in the same way. . .
Dagger's Edge . . .
Though well hidden, deep scars from Dean "Dagger" Gregory's troubled past have influenced each important decision he's ever made, including joining the military and keeping his distance from his best friend's sister, Mia Benson, the only woman he's ever loved. But after Dagger's friend strong-arms him into checking on the feisty redhead during his leave in Key West, he finds himself under sexual attack and with no desire—or willpower—to retreat.

Hot on the heels of a well deserved 5 star review, Wild Women Authors is delighted to welcome talented author Brenna Zinn and Mia Benson from the SEALs on Fire series out of the Wild Rose Press.
Mia, what is Dagger’s Edge about? A Navy SEAL, on leave in Key West, Florida with some guys from his platoon, Dagger (aka Dean Gregory) is asked by his best friend, actor Brice Benson, to check on me (Brice’s sister) while Dagger is in town. Dagger and I have a history together and it’s not the greatest. He seems to think I have a sassy mouth. I think he’s got the intelligence of a squirrel, at least that’s what I tell him. Deep down, I’ve always been in love with him since he saved my brother from an ass kicking when we were all kids.
What did you think the first time you saw Dagger? I met Dagger when he broke up a fight that some tough boys from school started with my brother. From that moment, he’s been the knight in shining armor. Unfortunately, he didn’t give me the time of day. Not even after going to high school together or spending our summers in Key West.
What was your second thought? That he is a complete jerk for totally ignoring me all these years. But I’m all grown up now and I refuse to be ignored any longer.
Did you think it was love at first sight? It definitely was for me. I had visions of a huge love affair. You know, the kind where eventually he tells me he loves me, asks for my hand and we live happily ever after. He just never seemed to have the same feelings about me.
What do you like most about Dagger? Where to start? I mean, besides being built like a Mac truck on steroids and a face to rival Brad Pitt, he’s always been a decent guy. You know the type. He fights for what he thinks is right and sticks up for the little guy. Plus he took incredible care of his mother, even after he joined the Navy and became a SEAL.
How would you describe him? Dagger is 29 years old. Now has black shaggy hair. He’s six feet two inches of pure muscle and testosterone. But what I love most are his eyes. They’re amazing. They are blue with gold trim eyes. When he looks at you, you feel like he’s looking into your soul. God, he’s intense but so damned handsome. He also has a tattoo of a dagger, like the one his father (former Army man) gave him, on his right arm.
How would Dagger describe you? Most likely a royal pain in the ass. I can’t help myself. If he ignores me, I have to get his attention somehow. My mouth seems to pop off before my brain engages. But I do think he likes my long, copper hair and the fact I’m petite.
What made you choose working at Butch’s Marina for a career? I wouldn’t call working at Butch’s a real career. I am a CPA, but I want to help the old guy out. He’s like family to me.
What is your biggest fear? That this last ditch effort to finally get Dagger to notice me won’t work. If it doesn’t, then I give up. Though my heart will always be his, I have to move on. I can’t continue to wait for him to love me back.
How do you relax? Great question! I live in my parent’s vacation house on Key West. It was built waaaay back in the day by one of my great-great grandparents. I love lounging in the backyard pool to soak up the sun, have a cocktail, and listen to music.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Gianna Romero from Private Showing. She’s a woman after my own heart. She’s independent, strong willed, and doesn’t need a man to make her life complete. I like to think I’m like that, though I’ve always wanted Dagger in my life. Actually, my life feels very incomplete without him.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Use sunscreen.

Thanks, Mia. Now let's look at the excerpt Brenna brought for us:

“Oh, I get it. So you’re afraid of my brother.” The prod was so easy to think of. Surely Dean wouldn’t be able to resist this carrot.
To her delight, his hand still holding hers tightened. Deep furrows dug into the skin between his brows. “I’ve never been afraid of another man in my life.” True to form, his voice dripped with indignation.
“Then kiss me.”
The challenge tumbled from her mouth as any glib remark might—little emotion, all quick banter. Her expectation for his accepting the goad was low. He wasn’t exactly known for doing just anything when provoked, especially when the poke came from her.
In the milliseconds while she waited for his response through word or action, the world seemed to stop spinning. Her heart suddenly lodged in her throat. Her pulse raced in her veins as though she’d taken some kind of drug spiked with adrenaline. The dare and his reply took on a meaning she’d never intended. But there it was. More than ever before, she wanted his kiss. She needed his kiss. Hadn’t she loved him long enough to finally deserve to have her lips touch his?
“Please, Dean,” Mia whispered earnestly. She stared at him, hoping he’d read the desperate pleading she tried to convey through her eyes. “Just one kiss.”

After that small part of this fun and fabulous story it's hard to argue a 5 star review which came out this week. Dagger's Edge, which we read in one sitting the other night, is fast, fun and snappy. The only criticism we have is this: it ended waaayyyy too soon.
To Brenna, we ask: what movies or books have had an impact on your writing? All of them. My writing is so incredibly varied, as is my taste in books and movies. I like humor, romance, paranormal, action/adventure – you name it. Each book I’ve read or movie I’ve seen has molded me into the writer I am today. With that in mind, I will admit that I’m a HUGE Game of Thrones fan, I watched every Hercules (with Kevin Sorbo) and Zena Warrior Princess television show, and I’m a total Downton Abbey and Big Bang Theory junky.
Yes – I know they’re all television shows, but they are stories come to life, just like a movie. My favorite movie of all time is The Quiet Man with John Wayne. I typically don’t like westerns, but this one is not a western. It’s set in Ireland. I fell in love with it the first time I saw it. I own the DVD now and watch it every March. My nod to St. Patrick’s day.
Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them? What influenced your decision to submit to them. Tell us a bit about the submission process. How long did it take from query to release?
The Wild Rose Press published Dagger’s Edge. I’ve been with them since they opened their doors years ago. Since then they’ve really grown to the big time and I’m so glad to have been around for the ride to see their incredible success.
Because I’ve published several stories with them, both as Brenna Zinn and Bev Oz, my process is fairly straight forward. I submit my synopsis and story to my editor. If she likes it, she contracts it. I’ve been extremely fortunate. She’s contracted everything I’ve ever submitted.

Thank you so very much for visiting us today, Brenna. After reading Dagger's Edge, we know you are headed for great success.
Kat and Veronica

To learn more about Dagger’s Edge and the stories Brenna Zinn creates go to: www.BrennaZinn.com
To purchase Dagger’s Edge, go to: http://www.amazon.com/Daggers-Edge-SEALs-Fire-ebook/dp/B00AWKDF78/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357857852&sr=8-1&keywords=daggers+edge




Monday, January 14, 2013

Chatting With a Ghost Writer . . .and the Ghost

Today 2 Wild Women Authors are pleased to welcome author, Lorna Collins, who brings Nan Burton, protagonist from Ghost Writer, a June 2012 release from Oak Tree Press. Welcome Lorna and Nan.
Where are you from, Nan? I was born and raised in Irvine, California, and worked as an IT programmer.
Can you tell us a bit about Ghost Writer? It’s the story of how, at the lowest point in my twenty-seven years, I inherited a small cottage on the sand near Laguna Beach, California. Oh, and I also got a dog I neither wanted nor was really prepared to care for.
Max: Quite correct, my dear.
Nan: Max, stuff a sock in it and stay out of this. It’s my interview.
Max: I cannot imagine why anyone would be interested in interviewing you when my own story is clearly far more interesting.
Nan to us: Did I mention that the house came equipped with an annoying, self-important, arrogant, demanding ghost?
Max: I resent that characterization! I am a well-known and established author of women’s literature.
Nan: Romance, you mean. And you wrote as Maxine DuBois. Very few people, and certainly no one under the age of a hundred, would have a clue as to who Max Murdoch is.
Max: Harrumph.
Nan, what made you choose computer programming as a profession, and how did you end up completing Max’s novel? I took the subject in college because we were told that there would always be a need for programmers. What I hadn’t counted on was the collapse of the banking industry. There were few jobs, and none requiring my specific experience.
After I moved into the house, Max refused to let me sleep unless I typed up his stupid manuscript and finished it. I couldn’t even decipher his scribbling, much less make sense of the story.
Max: Now see here, young woman. My final effort would have been a masterpiece if you had not tinkered with it.
Nan: Max, it’s only a good story because I fixed it.
Max: It did not need fixing by you or anyone else.
Nan: The publisher thought it did.
Uh, let’s move on. Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you have finished the book or have done something different, Nan? I had no choice. He wouldn’t let me sleep unless I did as he wished. And he sang badly. Opera!
Max: My vocal talents are not in question here. And, yes, I did threaten to allow you no slumber until the manuscript was completed.
Nan: Since I had nowhere else to go, I didn’t really have a choice. So I guess, I’d do it again.
What is your biggest fear? We mean Nan, not Max. Swimming in the ocean. I nearly drowned when I was a little kid.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I hate to admit it, but right now, I just love Sarah, the heroine of the book I wrote with Max. Near the end, she began to tell me her story, and I grew to love her personality and spunk.
Max: I am very happy that you appreciated that particular character, although I never use the term ‘heroine.’ It conjures up visions of the women in the old melodramas tied to a train track. I much prefer ‘protagonist.’
Nan: Max, I hate to admit it, but you’re right. Sarah is a strong woman who doesn’t wait for a man to rescue her.
Max: Now, just a moment…
Nan to us: Max and I have chosen to disagree about whether or not a woman really requires a man. Not that I don’t like them. But I like strong women characters, who are not dependent on being saved.
Moving on, what is the best piece of advice you ever received, Nan? Write what you know, but don’t be afraid of what you don’t know. You are then forced to do research until you do know.
Max: I believe I said that to you.
Nan: Yeah, Max, you did. I learned a lot from you.
Now it's Lorna's turn at bat: Which writer or character[s], from either books or movies, [or both] have had a major impact on your writing? Jane Austin, Anya Seton, James Michener, and Lloyd C. Douglas were early favorites. Of the more contemporary authors, Jennifer Crusie, Marilyn Meredith, and Gail Tsukiyama were very influential.
With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept?
I started with the idea of a ghost who was a writer. It soon became apparent that another dynamic was appearing in the story: Nan actually became the ghost writer for Max’s book. However, the basic story of the house at the beach with a resident ghost was there from the beginning. I just didn’t know what a crusty curmudgeon he’d turn out to be.
That sounds fascinating, and certainly is a change from the usual path for a story.
Here's a blurb for Ghost Writer:
When unemployed computer programmer Nan Burton inherits a California beach cottage from her great-aunt, she’s delighted. But she’s in for a huge surprise: The house is haunted by the ghost of famous romance writer Max Murdoch (pen name Maxine DuBois) who insists Nan complete his last novel, threatening to keep her from sleeping until she agrees. The ensuing clash pits youth against the long-dead but still egotistical author with humorous and moving results.
Tell us a bit about your publisher, Lorna. How did you hear about them?
Lorna: I met Billie Johnson several years ago at an ebook conference. We hung out together, and I really liked her as a person. We began corresponding since I usually facilitate the publishers’ panel at that annual conference. We saw each other again each year, but she didn’t really publish the fantasy/mystery/romance genre.
What influenced your decision to submit to them? After spending nearly nine months waiting for a commitment from another publisher, I asked Billie if she might want the book. She immediately said she’d take it and even created a new imprint, Mystic Oaks, for it. She really fast-tracked this one.
Tell us a bit about their submission process. How long did it take from query to release? I sent the query in December, received the actual signed contract in March, and the book came out on the 26th of June. Everyone at Oak Tree has been a joy to work with!

To learn more about Lorna and the stories she creates go to: http://www.lornalarry.com and http://lornacollins-author.blogspot.com/.

To purchase Ghost Writer, go to the Oak Tree Press Book Store, our website, or any other online book seller. It is also available on Kindle and NOOK.

Of note, in addition to writing by herself, Lorna also collaborates with her husband, Larry K. Collins. She currently has quite a few projects in the pipeline:
There’s another ghost story called Sophia’s Garden in the works. In addition, they are working on at least two more cozy mysteries in their AgapĂ© Jones series and a historical novel set in San Juan Capistrano between 1820 and 1890.

Lorna also writes romance anthologies with other authors. Their latest, The Art of Love, was just submitted to the publisher for release sometime next year. At least two more of these are also planned.

This has been a lot of fun as well as a nice diversion. It's not every day that a ghost intrudes on an interview! Much luck to you, Lorna [and Larry] in this release and those in the future. We wish you many many sales.
Kat Doran and Veronica Lynch

Monday, January 7, 2013

Greed, suspicion, love = Topaz Eyes

Topaz Eyes: where greed, suspicion and murder are balanced by growing family loyalty, trust and love. . .
. . . A peculiar invitation to Heidelberg embroils Keira Drummond in the search for a mysterious collection of extraordinary jewels once owned by a Mughal Emperor; a hoard that was last known to be in the possession of Amsterdam resident, Geertje Hoogeveen, in 1910.

Who among the progeny of Geertje – hitherto unfamiliar third cousins brought together for the quest – can Keira rely on? Distrust and suspicion among them is rife. Which one is greedy, and determined enough, to hire thugs to tail her… and worse… as she travels to Vienna and Minnesota? Can Keira even trust Teun Zeger - a Californian she is becoming very drawn to – as they pair up to unearth the jewelery?

As they follow a trail of clues, will they uncover the full collection before the hired gun kills them? Details remain furtive and undisclosed until danger and death forces their exposure. And who harbours the ultimate mystery item that is even more precious than the Mughal jewels?
Now that we've had a teaser, Wild Women Authors welcomes author Nancy Jardine who brings Teun Zeger, from “Topaz Eyes” an ancestral mystery recently released from Crooked Cat Publishing.
Good morning, Teun. Please tell us where you're from. I’m from California –Sonoma- though I was actually born in Rochester, Minnesota.
What is Topaz Eyes about? I can tell you it came as a complete mystery to me when I got a letter out of the blue from this guy named Jensen Amsel who claimed to be a third cousin of mine. In it, he asked me to go visit with him in Heidelberg, Germany, to find out more about my distant relatives. Now, the biggest surprise there was that I knew my grandparents were Dutch: I had no idea I also had German relatives. And, of course, when I arrived there Jensen got me embroiled with some other distant third cousins to search for a fabulous jewelry collection that was scattered amongst my family back in 1910. That proved to be a hell of a dangerous undertaking and not just a simple little ‘go find’ exercise!
What did you think the first time you saw Keira Drummond? Stunning! She was absolutely stunning! When I first met Keira, I had no idea she was going to be involved in the quest for the Tiru Salana emerald collection. She was just a woman I randomly met at a café in the old city area of Heidelberg and wanted to get to know a whole lot better.
What was your second thought? I was horrified that she might be too close a relative to me! All that consanguinity, blood relatives, and all that gave me some moments of real anxiety. I thought I’d just met the best looking woman I had ever clapped eyes on, and that she was going to be taboo!
Did you think it was love at first sight? Absolutely-for me it was. I wasn’t too sure about Keira, though, since after the initial few minutes she ran away from me like a bat out of hell! I was sure she’d been attracted to me right away, like I was drawn to her, but she got spooked and ran off. At that time I didn’t know why. When we met a second time, it was touch and go for a bit to see if things would work out between us… because I thought she was maybe more interested in someone else. Thank God, I was wrong about that!
What do you like most about her? Everything! But if you pin me down it has to be her stunning eyes. She has the most gorgeous, big, brown eyes that have lots of shades in them. They’re so expressive I can immediately tell if she’s annoyed with me, or when she’s delighted with something, or when she’s teasing me…or best of all -when she just plain loves me.
How would you describe her? Other than what I’ve told you already? That could be a long list! Let’s see…she’s smaller than me. That’s good, since I’m quite tall. Though, I guess, she’s about average height for a woman. She likes to keep fit and healthy. She’s in great shape and can out-walk me any day! Keira loves her job as a translator and is very good at it. She’s as tenacious as a terrier when she’s got something to find, or to finish. What I love most of all is that she’s fiercely loyal… and she loves me!
How would she describe you? The best lover she’s ever had? I certainly hope so! She’d also say I can be a bloody nuisance at times; that I’m a tease; I’m too extravagant… But I know she really loves all that about me.
What made you choose industrial chemistry as a profession? How about because I’m a science geek? Always have been! I majored in chemistry at UCSF. Originally I wanted to do pure chemistry research but it was a natural progression when I set up my own laboratories. I still have some pure research projects going on but need the other lab work to keep things ticking over.
What is your biggest fear? Not sure I really have one…but I’d be horrified if Keira ever stopped loving me!
How do you relax? I don’t have a lot of leisure time but I like to take a walk in the countryside or hang out with Keira and watch a movie. I like to read novels-especially when I’m flying across the continent between labs.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? That would have to be Superman! I grew up loving the things he can get up to and still be the nerdy guy at his desk. I’m usually very cautious, but I like the idea of getting some things achieved that other folk can’t manage to do. That might be because I’m bankrolling some project, or other, or because I’m giving my time to it.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? If you want something badly enough, go all-out for it, and don’t give up!

Thanks for that, Teun. Let's read an excerpt from “Topaz Eyes”:
Would you ditch the mystery, Jensen, and just enlighten me as to what you think I have that interests you? And tell me why you couldn’t have asked for it in the letter you sent to me? I came here of my own free will – granted – but I’m not hanging around any longer if you’re going to drag this out, for I’m damned sure I’ve no idea what you’re referring to.”
Jensen’s reply lacked emotion, his face a blank screen, his gaze focused on Teun as Keira regarded the by-play.
“Teun. It may come as a surprise to you, but you actually know more about this invitation than Keira. At least you knew from my letter I had something of family interest you might be glad to take back to the USA with you. Keira had no such suggestion made to her.”
Tension rose in the room, which didn’t only radiate from Teun.
Keira sat uneasy, also unwilling to be in the dark any longer. “Would you please explain why you think I may have something you want, Herr Amsel?” She found herself reluctant to use his first name, considering the antagonism now mounting.
“All in good time, Keira. And please call me Jensen. I don’t set out to be anyone’s enemy. I believe each of you can provide access to items belonging to the collection. All the pieces are likely to vary in monetary value but, viewed as a complete entity, it will make an impressive display. It’s a historic set… and unique.”

Both Veronica and I like to have our followers not only learn about a new book but also the author. First, Nancy's bio: An ex-primary teacher, Nancy Jardine, lives in the fabulous castle country of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, with her husband of many years. When time permits, ancestry research is an intermittent hobby. Neglecting her large garden in favor of writing, she now grows spectacularly giant thistles. Activity weekends with her extended family are prized since they give her great fodder for new writing, and she adores officially child minding her extremely active granddaughter of 15 months, a couple of days each week.
A lover of history, it sneaks into most of her writing along with many of the fantastic world locations she has been fortunate to visit. Her published work to date has been two non fiction history related projects; two contemporary ancestral mysteries; one light-hearted contemporary romance mystery and a historical novel. Works in progress is a sequel to her historical romance, and a family saga. She also writes time-travel novels for the 10 -14 age bracket.
Nancy, what movies or books have had an impact on your writing? I don’t believe any particular book has had an impact on my writing. In decades gone past I had some favorite authors- like Morgan Llewellyn who writes Celtic historical novels and non-fiction works – though, at that time, I had no intentions of being an author. I can read a book, sometimes love it during the reading, but don’t necessarily remember much about it once I’m part way into the next one.
Tell us a bit about your publisher. Topaz Eyes” is published by Crooked Cat Publishing and this is my second fiction release with them, though they are of different genres – one is a historical adventure, and the other is a contemporary ancestral mystery.
How did you hear about them? Crooked Cat is a new publisher based in Edinburgh, Scotland, which was inaugurated in Nov 2011. I heard about them starting up through one of my author Yahoo loops, and by Jan 2012 I had joined their Yahoo group and I became active with them as a ‘reader’.
What influenced your decision to submit to them? My Celtic/Roman Britain historical, “The Beltane Choice”, had been rejected by a US based publisher during the summer of 2011, so, after another thorough re-write of it, I sent it to Crooked Cat in early March 2012.
Tell us a bit about the submission process. How long did it take from query to release? Their submission process was by email- synopsis and initial chapters. They immediately requested the full manuscript and I was delighted to find I had a contract signed by early May. “The Beltane Choice” was released on the 31st Aug 2012. So, from query to release, it was approximately 6 months. There was a possibility for it to be released slightly earlier, but since my second Wild Rose Press contemporary romance “Take Me Now” was being released on the 3rd Aug 2012 Crooked Cat were happy to delay “The Beltane Choice” to the end of August.
The submission process to Crooked Cat for Topaz Eyes was similar, though by mutual choice, the process took a little longer. I sent in my query to Crooked Cat in April 2012. The contract for that was signed in July but since I was heavily involved with my Wild Rose Press release, and my first Crooked Cat release, I was happy for the Topaz Eyes release to be set for the beginning of December 2012.
Three releases within just over four months was so exciting, but a tremendous challenge to personally keep up with – given family commitments that began in Aug 2012 and which take up a couple of days each week (No writing tasks are done on those days!) Thank you for inviting me today! It’s a pleasure to visit my Wild Rose Press friends.
This has been great and we thank you, Nancy. It's always exciting to bring information about a 'new' publisher to the blog's followers. We hope you'll come back and visit when your next book comes out.
Kat and Veronica

To learn more about Nancy Jardine and the stories she creates go to: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.com   http://nancyjardineauthor.weebly.com    http://facebook.com/nancy.jardine.56    Twitter @nansjar
To purchase Topaz Eyes, go to http://amzn.to/RJZzZz - (Nancy’s Amazon author page where details can be found of all her novels; her book trailer videos can be viewed; and recent blog post news displayed.) Topaz Eyes is also available from Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/261511 and from www.crookedcatbooks.com