Sunday, April 29, 2007
Stolen Indian artifacts. . .
A dead museum guard. . .
A missing wife and mom. . .
A baby in mortal danger. . .
Museum security expert Desiree Jacobs and FBI agent Tony Lucano scramble to unearth the horrifying secret that links every incident. The investigation thrusts them into the path of something dark and sinister.
Something that craves blood sacrifice.
From the high society of the U.S. capital to the streets of Desi's beloved Boston to the mountain desert of New Mexico, Desi and Tony must thwart forces of darkness—relying on God’s guidance and strength—to save a young woman and her baby from a villain more desperate than they can imagine.
I received The Reluctant Runaway several weeks ago and have been dying to do this interview with the author Jill Elizabeth Nelson. Some of you will remember that I loved Jill's debut novel Reluctant Burglar. I thought it had a little bit of everything. Intrigue, suspense, romance, drama. I would have been hard pressed to find any fault at all with the book. So when I heard about the second book I wondered if it would hold up to the praise of book one. You know how sequel movies are never as good as the original and almost always leave you feeling dissatisfied???
I can honestly say Jill blew that theory out of the water. Again, her book has it all. This time she even threw in some cult like behavior for good measure. ;) She obviously did her homework and researched the locations in the book very well. I felt like I could feel the desert rock under foot as Desi made her way through the rough terrain.
The romance between Desi and Tony doesn't leave me disappointed either. I love the chemistry of these characters. I still stand by my first opinion of this series and say that these characters could do justice to a T.V. series. I know I'd watch it.
After you read the short interview with Jill, please leave me a comment about what you thought of the first book or why you'd like to read this book and I'll draw from the names for a free copy of The Reluctant Runaway. ;)
Hey, Jill. I thought we’d go for a more fun, quirky interview…since we already did the mature/serious one. back in October. LOL.
I have to reiterate how much I enjoyed both the Reluctant Burglar and the Reluctant Runaway. Last year I thought RB was one of the best books I read and I mean that. (I still say it would make a killer TV. series)You can bet Reluctant Runaway will make the top ten list next year. ;)
Anyway, tell me something about yourself that readers or even friends might be surprised to learn about you.
JN: When I get to laughing really hard, I start a high-pitched squeak sound like Mutley from those old Dastardly and Mutley cartoons. My family thinks it’s so funny they laugh at me . . . not with me.
Isn't family fabulous? LOL. Is there any of “Jill” in your main character Desi?
JN: Only a smidgeon. Desi can be an I’ll-do-it-myself control freak, and I have to admit I can be somewhat the same way. All right. A lot the same way. The Lord and I are working on this. You could say I’m a “recovering Desiree.” LOL.
On the other hand, I only wish I could invent the clever repartee that she does on the fly. Generally, the smooth response doesn’t occur to me until after the fact. At least, we both love classic films.
I, too, would love to be as smooth and efficient as Desi. Now, if you could be doing anything right now…what would it be?
JN: Sitting in a lawn chair in a wooded area on a sunny, warm day, feeling the breeze on my face, and listening to the birds sing while I invent stories on my laptop. Nothing compares to that peaceful environment to facilitate concentration and creativity.
Sounds relaxing. What’s something you’ve always wanted to do? Any skydiving or bungee jumping in your future?
JN: My daughter bungee jumps. She can have it! Gill Grissom (CSI) rides roller coasters. He can keep those. And I prefer to stay in my seat in an airplane, thank you very much. But I would like to have unlimited funds and endless vacation time to travel the world on mission trips. Last year, my husband and I were in Thailand for a couple of weeks. Next year, we hope to go to the Philippines and Thailand. I’d like to do lots more.
What would be the perfect date night with your husband…pizza…fine dining…walk in the park…etc…
JN: A delicious meal at a fine seafood restaurant, followed by an exciting action movie. (I’m not a chic flick kind of gal.) On the other hand, a nice walk on a balmy day then dill pickle chips and a movie at home is just great, too. Of course, my husband doesn’t care for my kind of chips. He eats Lays au gratin.
Are you still working full time? Or are you writing full time now?
JN: When I’m not at my laptop, I work forty plus hour weeks as a housing manager at a senior housing complex. So you could easily say I hold down two full time jobs. Good thing I love them both!
Share something new that you’ve learned recently about the writing/publishing world.
JN: The more things change, the more things stay the same. Multnomah just went through a major change in being purchased by Random House. The absorption into a larger company and merger with Waterbrook (RH’s other inspie imprint) had its bumpy moments, but not as much as one might think. A number of processes changed as a result, and yet I find preparing a manuscript for publication the same hurry-up-and-wait business it’s always been—flurries of activity, followed by waiting for someone else to get their part done.
I adore your book covers. Very appealing and eye catching. Did you have input on the final design?
JN: I love my publisher. They give me input on everything. Their in-house cover designer came up with several options—using live models, by the way—then I got to pick what I liked best. With Reluctant Runaway, I selected my favorite and made a suggestion for a slight change, which they went with right away. I’m thrilled with my covers! I’m double-thrilled with the preview I’ve already had of the cover for my January release, Reluctant Smuggler.
Feel free to share anything about the book or future projects.
JN: Reluctant Runaway was such a fun book to write because I got to actually visit Albuquerque, where much of the action takes place. I so enjoyed the high desert topography and climate. The upcoming January release, Reluctant Smuggler, is special because . . . well, let’s just say we have some pretty awesome developments for Desi and Tony.
Be sure to stop by my web site for lots of great changes and updates since the release of Reluctant Runaway. My Stealth and Wealth page has a new art IQ contest posted for a monthly chance to win a signed copy. Also, my books page not only has excerpts to read, but a book trailer to view. I’ve also added a whole new page of speaking topics. Check ‘em out! http://www.jillelizabethnelson.com/
Thanks, Jill. I appreciate you taking the time for this. And I can’t wait for book three. ;)
JN: THANKS, SABRINA!
There you have it folks. Now leave those comments for a chance to win a gently used copy of this fab book. ;) And be sure to check back at the end of the week as I'll be interviewing and giving away a copy of Rachel Haucks new book. Diva NashVegas. ;)
Friday, April 13, 2007
Now that I'm completely finished with the book, as much as I hate to part with it...I'm giving away my copy of Coral Moon. All you have to do is leave me a comment and tell me why you want to read the book or mention a favorite Brandilyn book and I'll put your name in a hat and draw the winner Tuesday.
Warning...this is not a book for the faint of heart. Sigh. It's extremely suspenseful and delves into spiritual warfare. So if you're a member of the BHCC this is not the book for you. Otherwise, you're going to love it. ;)
Read the last post for a description of the book.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Brandilyn and her family divide their time between the California Bay Area and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
She also maintains an informative blog called Forensics and Faith where she daily dispenses wisdom on writing, life, and the Christian book industry.
The figure remained still as stone. Leslie couldn't even detect a breath.
Spider fingers teased the back of her neck.
Leslie's feet rooted to the pavement. She dropped her gaze to the driveway, seeking...what? Spatters of blood? Footprints? She saw nothing. Honed through her recent coverage of crime scene evidence, the testimony as last month's trial, the reporter in Leslie spewed warnings: Notice everything, touch nothing...
Leslie Brymes hurries out to her car on a typical workday morning...and discovers a dead body inside.
Why was the corpse left for her to find? And what is the meaning of the message pinned to its chest?
In Coral Moon, the senseless murder of a beloved Kanner Lake citizen spirals the small Idaho town into a terrifying glimpse of spiritual forces beyond our world. What appears true seems impossible.
OR IS IT?
And as Brandilyn would say...
Everyone knows I love a good suspense book. That's why Brandilyn has become one of my all-time favorite writers. Being a reviewer is fun, but when you get a book by a favorite writer, it's like setting down with an old friend.
In Coral Moon, Collins does exactly what's expected of a writer of her caliber. She writes a wonderfully crafted, suspenseful story that pulls you in from the first page. Look at this excerpt from the first chapter. I know this is a long post, but I wanted to show you how a suspense book should start.
Kill tonight—or die.
The words burned, hot acid eating through his eyes, his brain. Right down to his soul.
Only a crazy person would obey.
He slapped both hands to his ears, squeezed hard against his head. Screwed his eyes shut. He hung there, cut off from the world, snagged on the life sounds of his body. The whoosh of breath, the beat of his heart.
The words boiled.
His skull hurt. He pulled his hands away, let them fall. The kitchen spun. He dropped into a chair, bent forward, and breathed deeply until the dizziness passed.
He sat up, looked again to the table.
The note lay upon the unfolded Kanner Lake Times newspaper, each word horrific against the backdrop of a coral crescent moon.
How did they get in here?
What a stupid question. As if they lacked stealth, as if mere walls and locked entrances could keep them out. He’d been down the hall in the bedroom watching TV, door wide open, yet had heard nothing. Hadn’t even sensed their presence as he pushed off the bed and walked to the kitchen for some water.
A chill blew over his feet.
His eyes bugged, then scanned the room. Over white refrigerator and oak cabinets, wiped-down counters and empty sink. To the threshold of the kitchen and into the hallway. There his gaze lingered as the chill worked up to his ankles.
It had to be coming from the front of the house.
His skin oozed sweat, a web of sticky fear spinning down over him. Trembling, he pulled himself out of the chair. He clung to the smooth table edge, ensuring his balance. Then, heart beating in his throat, he forced himself across the floor, around the corner, and toward the front door.
It hung open a few inches.
They were taunting him.
He approached, hands up and fingers spread, as if pushing through phantoms. Sounds of the night wafted on the frigid air—the rustle of breeze through tree limbs, distant car tires singing against pavement. He reached the door, peered around it, knowing he was a fool to seek sign of them. The air smelled crisp, tanged with the purity of pine trees. The last vestiges of snow dusted his porch, bearing the tracks of his footprints alone.
He closed the door and locked it. As if that would do any good. He sagged against the wall, defeated and sick. How stupid to think they would leave him in peace. Hadn’t he seen this coming? All the events of the last few months . . .
Shoulders drawn, he made his way back to the kitchen and his inevitable fate. Each footstep drew him away from the life he’d built, reasoning and confidence seeping from him like blood from a fatal wound. His conscience pulsed at what he had to do.
The message sat on his table, an executioner beckoning victim to the noose. He fell into the chair, wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. He read the words, fresh nausea rising in his stomach. No misunderstanding their commands. They had a chess score to settle. He was their pawn.
He pushed back against the chair, arms crossed and hugging himself, the way he used to do as a boy. Dully, he stared at the window, seeing only his own pitiable reflection. For a long time he watched himself, first transfixed in fright, then with the evolving expression of self-preservation.
If he just did this one thing, his debt would be paid. They’d leave him alone.
For another hour...two…he sat, forcing down the queasiness as he thought through dozens of details. How he should do it. What could go wrong.
By the time he rose near midnight, he’d laid his plans.
Gathering the necessary items, shrugging on a coat, he slipped out into the cold and soulless night.
If you'd like to visit the folks from Kanner Lake, stop by Brandilyn's character blog... Scenes and Beans.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
It bothers me a little, but then he has a hobby that I don't like and I don't have any interest in -- that's a story for another time. ;) So imagine my surprise when I came home the other day and he said, "Hey, I know it's not much, but I got you this." He pulled out a scrapbook. At first I'm thinking, "Does this man know me?" I hate scrapbooking. (more power to y'all that get into it...just not my thing) Anyway, I'm looking at it wondering. Then he says, "I noticed your articles are piling up in your keepsake box and I thought you might want to put them in a scrapbook for when Tanner is older."
Awww...how sweet was that? I realized that though we are so different and he sometimes seems like he isn't listening, I think he is. I think he's doing the best he can in a world he has very little interest in and I need to be more patient with him and find ways to include him in this crazy world.
I know most of my readers fairly well and I know your spouses are very supportive, but do they "get" it? And what was the last just for fun, sweet thing your spouse did for you? Something simple, but meaningful.