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Thursday, June 1, 2017

It's re-launch day for Medieval Irish novelette A KISS AT VESPERS!


In the year 1008, a British woman named Asta stows away on a ship to Ireland, never guessing how her faith and love will be challenged.

I'm very happy to announce that my historical romance novelette, A Kiss at Vespers, is again available in all ebook formats, and with a spiffy new cover. And at the permanently crazy-low price of 99 cents!

Researching seafaring, Vikings, and monastic life of 11th century Ireland was all kinds of fun, so it was important to me to get this book back out into the world. This is a sweet romance and (I'm told) a fun and quick read.

A Kiss at Vespers is now presented as Volume 1 in the Ireland's Medieval Heart Novelettes series. And you know what that means...I'd better get writing!

Buy it wherever ebooks are sold, including:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Kobo
Scribd

A Kiss at Vespers
by Anne E. Johnson
Ireland's Medieval Heart Novelettes, Vol. 1


In 1008 AD, Dublin is just a small town, newly opened to trade now that Viking violence there has died down. A young woman named Asta runs away from her boring life in Britain on one of her father’s trading vessels bound for Dublin, hoping that she and the sailor she loves can find a new life together. But when shipwreck takes him from her, her whole world changes. She is helped up the rocky shores of eastern Ireland by handsome and enigmatic Brother Martinus, who takes her to the Monastery of St. Luran’s to recover. Despite his vows of silence and chastity, Brother Martinus is entranced by the beautiful maiden who seems delivered to him by Providence. Their unexpected relationship causes both of them to rethink their concepts of faith and love.



Thursday, May 25, 2017

Susan P. Baker on using her law experience for the suspense novel UNAWARE


Any one of us can end up the victim of a crime. Today's guest, Susan P. Baker, took inspiration from her experiences as a lawyer for her novel Unaware. If this essay is any indication, get ready for some major suspense!

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Unaware in Real Life

by Susan P. Baker

UNAWARE is loosely based a case I handled when I first started practicing law. At the time, I was married to my first husband. We were the parents of two young daughters. My husband traveled a lot on the job, which was necessary but could be annoying when I was trying to get a law practice off the ground and parent the children at the same time. We did not have an au pair, couldn’t afford one. My father had been an attorney but was on the bench when I won my law license.

One night, when my husband was out of town, I went to a meeting and was out too late. The girls were old enough to stay by themselves. I stopped off at the grocery store on the way home and noticed when I was almost to my house that a car had been following me. When I pulled into my driveway, the car stopped and parked in front of the house opposite mine. I immediately backed out and drove away, hoping to lead the person away from my children. We didn’t have cell phones back then. I drove a short distance to my sister’s house, jumped out, and ran inside. 

My brother- in-law drove to my house to check things out while my sister and I called the police. When they found no one there, I went home, having become aware of how easy it would be for someone to hide around my house, what with the hedge next to the front door. I pulled into the garage, put the door down, ran inside to check on the girls who were okay, and got the butcher knife out of the drawer and put it under my pillow. We didn’t have any guns. I had a hard time sleeping that night. The following day I bought a .38 revolver.

At that time, I was building my family law practice as well as practicing criminal defense law. I shared an office with two of my father’s former law partners. They were much older and often gave me advice. One of them had the messiest office I’d ever seen, but he had a brilliant mind and could cite law that I’d never even heard of.

In one of my cases, a beautiful, young woman with long, blond hair came to see me about her situation. She hadn’t been married to her husband very long but was ready to get out because he’d become violent almost as soon as they’d said “I do.” He worked on the wharves and had a very sharp cotton knife that he threatened her with when she spoke of leaving him. He was a few years older than she was and fairly good looking. His father was a big-wig in the longshoreman’s union and had bailed him out of trouble many times. 

Susan P. Baker
I took the case against the advice of the other lawyers because she didn’t have much money and had been turned down by other lawyers who were afraid. It wasn’t long before she told me that her husband threatened to kill her and me. We tried our best to settle the case amicably. The man’s father even came to see me in my office. He knew my father. He said he’d make his son settle the case, pay the money he needed to pay, and he even gave me a pendant of a gold leaf. Anyway, clearly the inspiration for UNAWARE came from my law practice.

UNAWARE

What you don’t know CAN hurt you.

Frustrated with the two controlling men in her life, Dena Barlow Armstrong has outlined a rosy future for herself and her children, independent of them. Her husband, Zack, constantly pushes her to turn over her inheritance to him and, when she doesn’t, he punishes her with his indifference. Her law partner and cousin, Lucas, controls her money and the types of cases she accepts.

Just as Dena begins to achieve her goal of independence, someone emerges with very different plans for her. Unaware of the danger she faces, Dena lives each day as a wife, mother, and attorney. Then one day, when her husband is out of town, the stranger lurks in her garage, waiting until she and the children go to bed…

This standalone novel is Susan P. Baker’s sixth mystery/suspense novel.

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Learn more about Susan P. Baker on her website.

Purchase Unaware on Amazon.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Angelique Conger on motherhood in her novel EVE: FIRST MATRIARCH


Appropriately for Mother's Day, my guest is Angelique Conger, who explores the concept of motherhood in its most ancient form in her novel Eve: First Matriarch.

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Deciding to Write Eve
By Angelique Conger

My first child was due in December of 1974. Being “large with child” my thoughts turned to other women whose children were important at that time of the year. I naturally thought of Mary, the Mother of Christ and her delivery of that sacred child. Then, I began to think of our first mother, Eve.
So little is known of her. There are but a few sentences regarding her in Genesis and over the centuries she has been villainized. I began to wonder about her, especially as I carried my first child, I wondered about the birth of her first child.

I would have a clean hospital bed and doctors and nurses who had helped mothers give birth many times. Who was there to help and support Eve? Were there angels? Was it Adam? If so, how did Adam get the knowledge he needed to help her safely give birth to their first child?

I wondered. I thought. I questioned. I gave birth to that son and four more children. Each child brought my thoughts back to Mother Eve. How did she manage?

In college, I took a class in creative writing and attempted to tell the story of this important Mother—and failed. I tried to tell it from the outside looking in. I got nowhere with the story. Later, I tried again, and failed once more. I believed I could not write her story, could not discover the answer to my questions.

Then, three years ago, my sister challenged me to participate in National Novel Writing Month. “Sure,” I said, “but what story will I tell?”

It came to me to try once more to learn the story of Eve. I changed the perspective, writing from her point of view, thinking as she would think, and the story flowed. I learned all the answers I sought, and more. I learned about being the only woman with the only man on earth, their struggles, their difficulties in discovering and inventing. I learned much more than was finally included in my book, because I had to focus. That focus became the focus of my earlier questions. How did Eve handle becoming a mother, and from whom did she receive help?

Angelique Conger
I hope you will enjoy my discoveries in Eve, First Matriarch, and in the following books about the wives of the other patriarchs.



Eve: First Matriarch

Eve is a mother to us all. Here is her story of longing, anguish, and hope…

Eve wants nothing more than to fulfill God’s two commandments: live in absolute obedience and replenish the earth with her children. But the power of the Destroyer is strong, and when she’s told she has a chance to fulfill the second commandment by breaking the first… she takes it.

Expelled from a garden paradise into a wild, dangerous world, Eve learns that her failure to obey will someday cause her to die. With a limited time to teach Jehovah’s commandments to her children, she’s devastated when the Destroyer starts to lead them astray. Can Eve overcome evil to teach her children obedience and happiness?

Eve: First Matriarch is a reimagined story of the biblical figure of Even. If you like rich historical fiction, feminine perspectives, and illuminating stories of motherhood, then you’ll love Angelique Conger’s debut novel.



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Learn more about Angelique Conger on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.
You can purchase Eve: First Matriarch on Amazon.



Thursday, May 4, 2017

Lucinda E. Clarke on Writing an African Adventure as Her Own Boss

Our well-traveled guest talks about how retirement led to the freedom to create a character close to her heart. Please welcome Lucinda E. Clarke, author of Amie: An African Adventure.

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Stories of My Own Choosing
by Lucinda E. Clarke

After thirty plus years writing for other people who knew what they wanted, and my eager compliance (despite the propaganda) which allowed me to bank the cheque and support two children, one husband and a St Bernard with a voracious appetite; when I retired I became my own boss. Finally I could write what I wanted.

Enter Amie Fish, the shy, quiet, rather spoiled, newly-married first world girl living close to family in the London suburbs.

It was time to drag her out of her comfort zone and send her to Africa. I gave her a while to settle in, make friends and discover the beauty and majesty of the Dark Continent.

Then the first crisis arises as she’s coerced into filming, first propaganda for the government, and then the results of atrocities that signal the coming civil war. When the hostilities break out in the capital she gets caught up in the fighting and lands in prison. From then on it’s a struggle to survive.

I’ve drawn on my extensive experience of Africa in all three of the Amie novels. I was so fortunate to go where few tourists or residents ever go, from witchdoctor’s huts to chief’s kraals, to meeting royalty, presidents and peasants. I was often the only European for miles around as I worked deep rural with my filming crew.

As Amie lurches from one crisis to another throughout the series she learns to toughen up. All the rules, morals and mores she learned as a child do not apply to Africa. She sees a totally different mindset, a new set of guidelines she’d never imagined. She makes friends, is betrayed by others, loses everything and begins a new life. She is forced to work for those
Lucinda E. Clarke
who will kill her if she does not obey. She changes from meek housewife to trained killer, someone who no longer officially exists, facing dangers she would never have envisaged.

Yet despite everything, the country and the peoples take a hold on her and won’t let go. She’s in love with her adopted continent, mentally she’s trapped and realises that ‘while you may leave Africa, Africa will never leave you.’

My biggest inspiration for writing the series is to share the truth about the real Africa, to share with people the raw, savage reality besides the warm, friendly people and open the readers’ eyes to a very different world.

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Learn more about Lucinda E. Clarke on her website.
Sign up for her newsletter here.
You can purchase Amie: An African Adventure on Amazon.



Monday, May 1, 2017

New Cover Reveal: A KISS AT VESPERS medieval Irish romance


If you feel like you've heard the title of this novelette before, you're right. A KISS AT VESPERS was originally published in 2013, but now I'm re-releasing it. And there's nothing like a shiny new cover to make folks notice.

And so, it is my pleasure to share with you...




Isn't it lovely? There's a baby goat!! Sweet and romantic, just like the story. Want to read the book? You don't have to wait long. The e-book will be available on June 1, 2017.

To be notified when A KISS AT VESPERS becomes available,

A KISS AT VESPERS

In 1008 AD, Dublin is just a small town, newly opened to trade now that Viking violence there has died down. A young woman named Asta runs away from her boring life in Britain on one of her father’s trading vessels bound for Dublin, hoping that she and the sailor she loves can find a new life together. But when shipwreck takes him from her, her whole world changes. She is helped up the rocky shores of eastern Ireland by handsome and enigmatic Brother Martinus, who takes her to the Monastery of St. Luran’s to recover. Despite his vows of silence and chastity, Brother Martinus is entranced by the beautiful maiden who seems delivered to him by Providence. Their unexpected relationship causes both of them to rethink their concepts of faith and love.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

VIOLENCE IN VEGAS - A Kindle World Novella by Julie C. Gilbert


We do try to be cutting-edge here at Jester Harley's. To that end, I am pleased to welcome our first fanfiction-writing guest. Take it away, Julie C. Gilbert!

*   *   *

Writing Crime Fiction for the Lei Crime Kindle World
by Julie C. Gilbert


Hi, Thanks for having me, Anne.

Today, I’d like to tell you about my book, Violence in Vegas – a Lei Crime Kindle Worlds Novella. It features FBI Special Agent Marcella Scott, who is not a character I came up with. That said, I have a weakness for writing FBI agents. This is true in my Heartfelt Cases series (Christian Mystery) as well as most of my Kindle Worlds stories, six of which are Lei Crime and one that’s in the Sydney Rye Kindle World.


Aside - What is Kindle Worlds?

Kindle Worlds is Amazon’s idea of officially licensing fanfiction. Basically, you find a world you like and write a story with one of the characters created by the original author. Then, you split the royalties with the author of that world.


Back on Track – Violence in Vegas

Julie C. Gilbert
I’d originally set out to write about many different characters in the Lei Crime Series, so I started the Defining Moments Series. However, Defining Moments II turned into Shadow Council #1 because I fell in love with writing Marcella Scott. She was just a ton of fun with her love of fancy shoes, her lovable partner, and her need to dodge her mother’s matchmaking efforts.

The Shadow Council series grew to 4 books which had her pitted against bank robbers, corrupt politicians, and crazy people from her past. I thought the poor lady needed a vacation. She wound up in Vegas to help a friend with an unofficial sabotage case. Since trouble follows her like a magnet, she ran into mayhem, of course.

Thanks for stopping by and listening.

Official Description for Violence in Vegas:

Sin City holds some dark secrets …

But Marcella Scott’s in town to help Angela Melkin-Pierce with a small case of sabotage. Somebody’s been slashing guests’ tires and ransacking rooms at The Grand Game Hotel. With the guest list including the Reno Birdwatcher’s Society and the Paradise Quilting Club, the suspect list is very thin. The only intriguing option is Gatton Technologies, headed by eccentric billionaire, Jeffrey Gatton. When he decides to host a masquerade party at the hotel, Marcella goes undercover.

The air of elegance quickly turns to terror when masked men kidnap Gatton and Angela.

Marcella’s going to need all of her wits—and a borrowed handgun or two—if she wants to survive the violence in Vegas.

*   *   *
Grab your copy of Violence in Vegas today, or start at the beginning of Marcella’s adventures (Shadow Council #1: Money Makes it Deadlier). When you finish with that, Rescue in Reno should be ready for you.

You can visit Julie C. Wilson on her Website and learn how to get a free scifi or mystery book. You can also find her on Facebook.






Thursday, March 30, 2017

John McRandle on his unusual picture book for grownups, THE AWFULBET


There's little in life I admire more than weirdness and originality, preferably both in the same work. And so, it's my great pleasure to introduce you to the oddest picture book you're likely to see today, The Awfulbet, written and illustrated by John McRandle.

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The Tale of The Awfulbet
by John McRandle

The Awfulbet: A Bracing Compendium of Disease & Effluvia For Grownups is an ABC book with a collection of 26 letters who endure a wide range of amusing afflictions. From Acne to Zombification, and all infirmities in between, each letter has been given an alliterative assortment of awfulness. For example, meet ‘B, who is Beset by Bunions, Baldness and Boils’, or ‘R, who is Ripe with Ringworm, Rosacea and Rabies’—the characters of the book possess a certain comical charm that will appeal to kids and grownups alike.


This is my first book, and my first foray into the world of self-publishing. Starting as a germ of an idea two years ago, the project came to me in a late-night burst of creativity. The writing was the fastest part, with the droll diseases flowing from my pen. But the illustration took a lot of time, as each letter’s illness had to be anthropomorphized and personalized to build the character. I suppose the genesis for The Awfulbet can be traced back to my youth reading Mad magazine and collecting Topps’ Wacky Packages, which fueled my interest in the sort of subversive humor that kids love. Some of my largest influences are Dr. Seuss, Edward Gorey, and Roald Dahl, as they play a huge role in my literary and artistic interests—and my love for darker and more disturbing work.

As a young person I was fascinated by the creatures you would find when turning over rocks, or the strange old things you'd find packed in the attic or basement that had been discarded by their owners but still had stories to tell. Growing up as the child of a German historian and an audiology professor, I always had an interest in language and science. We had a large library filled with art, natural history, and science books, and linguistic humor and wordplay were always popular in our house. What I hope to do with The Awfulbet is make something curiously creepy and grossly entertaining that appeals to the 13-year-old rock flipper and attic explorer in all of us.

BLURB:

The Awfulbet: A Bracing Compendium of Disease & Effluvia For Grownups chronicles the sad state of affairs in which these endearingly ill letters find themselves. From Acne to Zombification, there is no end to the problems these troubled souls will endure.

This contagious interpretation of an alphabet book springs from the fevered mind of John McRandle, a New York-based illustrator and musician. Night after night, he toiled until the wee hours, delving into the lives of these 26 little creatures. Now, the fruits of his labor can be yours!

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Learn more about The Awfulbet on the book's website.
You can purchase The Awfulbet from the Blurb bookstore


See more of John McRandle's work on Tumblr and follow him on Instagram as @jdmcrandle