The author of the Kallos series brings you another exciting romance!
Fifty years after President Miller was assassinated and the second civil war ended, life has resumed. The two classes, Blacks and Blues, have to wear bracelets to identify themselves and are not allowed to socialize with one another or they will be put into the tower. William Moore is of the Black group and in charge now. He only has one daughter that he has kept a secret. Now that Jamie has just turned eighteen she won’t be a secret for long.
Jamie Moore and her best friend Emily go to a club for her birthday. It isn’t the kind of club her father would approve of. It is called the No B Club; because you have to take off your identifying bracelets to get in. It’s a place where you can mingle with the other class without the hassle. A man with a pierced eyebrow, a lip ring and rich chocolate brown hair catches her eye and she is taken by surprise; after a night together she hopes he wears a black bracelet as she does.
When a new butler starts at the Moore’s residence, Jamie is told to stay in her room, but the new butler calls her downstairs. When Jamie realizes it is her Henry from the night before working as the butler, her heart is broken. She now knows they can’t be together or her father would have him killed.
But what if they could keep their relationship a secret? Could their love beat all the odds against them?
I’m Catholic. Yes, I have to start out every interview talking about me ‘cause let’s face it, I’m just so interesting. So, me being Catholic, I felt guilty when I stole Hildie McQueen’s clickable green Sharpie. Yeah, Sharpie’s have clickable pens. It’s pretty much awesome. I met Hildie at RT, Romantic Times Book Lover’s Convention, last year. We were Crescent Moon Press writers, and bad, bad to the bone. We caused trouble. I stole her pen. Then I felt guilty.I finally had to come clean, Hildie forgave me, and agreed to do an interview. And I recorded our conversation.Click here for the MP3! Hilda McQueen Interview By Aaron Ritchey Final Polish.MP3 (Right click and left click on SAVE TARGET AS).
So not only do you have the wonder that is the written interview, we also have the recorded version of our conversation which is COMPLETELY different than the written interview.
But first, before you click on the link to hear us talking and giggling—well, she talked, I giggled—here is a little bio about Hlidie.
Hildie loves the strange and unusual, pair that with humor and you’ve got an idea of what her writing is like. She makes sure action, intrigue, and sizzling romance add up to an escape that her readers won’t soon forget. Hildie is a member of Georgia Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America. She resides in a beautiful small town in Georgia with her super-hero husband Kurt.
And her book, a western romance, called Where the Four Winds Collide, sounds fabulous!
Adeline Buckley escapes her abusive father only to find herself in a brothel, on a stagecoach to the untamed West and married to a stranger, all in that order. Plotting another escape becomes harder, the more she gets to know her new husband. Jackson Pruitt didn’t expect a secretive mail order bride to show up the same week cattle rustlers absconded with a large part of his herd. The bigger surprise was the loveliness of the woman. Why would a beauty like her need to travel so far to marry? Jackson and Adeline learn that secrets and marriage do not go hand-in-hand when both of their pasts comes knocking and both have to come to grips with the reality that sometimes trust comes only after you lose it all.
Now, on to the interview, pardners. I’m writing a sci-fi western. Hildie wrote a western romance. And we’re gonna get Texas before it’s all done. Not sure what that means but hey, don’t mess with Texas.
AARON: The expression yippee ki-yay is supposedly a cowboy expression for great happiness. Name the top three yippee ki-yay moments you’ve had in your writing life. I know, great question, but hey, that’s why we’re here.
Hildie: First of all Sheriff Aaron, I’m obliged to be here visiting with ya today. Howdy pardner and yipee ki-yay back at ya!
What an awesome question *snickering* Well let me see the first YKY moment was on the first day I walked into a romance writer’s meeting and realized, wow these people are really nice. So yes Dorothy, on the other side of the rainbow dreams do come true. Writers are amazing selfless people who will do much to help other writers. The second YKY was realizing that we don’t do it [write] for fame, money or movie rights (yes those are great things), but we write because we have to, it’s our passion and our duty to ourselves.
AARON: I’m jealous that you’ve never read Lonesome Dove, a Jodie Thomas novel, or a Dusty Richards novel. You have some great times ahead of you. Were you nervous about writing a western novel since you didn’t grow up watching Clint Eastwood, or chewing Redman tobacco? How did you overcome the fear?
Hildie: Super nervous, are you kidding me? I’ve never even been near a cow for goodness sakes! So when that little lady, Adeline, showed up (in my head) and told me this amazing story, I was convinced that although it was a great story I was not qualified to write it. I overcame it because she would not shut up and I was more fearful of going crazy than of the hours of research. I can’t wait to read Lonesome Dove, I promise to get back at you and tell you what I think. I may even chew some tabaccah.
AARON: Any cigar smoking in your novel? What about gunfights? Do people eat beans in Where the Four Winds Collide? What about stagecoach roadkill? Any hangings?
Hildie: Everyone has a gun, well the men do anyway, but come to think of it no one gets shot. I’ll have to put a gunfight into the next one. Oooh, but a poor critter does die, the scene is sad, but a stagecoach doesn’t kill it, a cow does. Cows are murderers in my book.
AARON: Now, when we talked, you said something about being in Atlanta, stopped at a stoplight, and a woman got into your car and told you her story. Is that right? Did I miss something? Were you car-jacked?
Hildie: Yes! I was carjacked by a crazy fictional character that would not shut up. Brothel…blah blah, stagecoach, blah, blah, married to a stranger, blah, blah. I ended up driving for six hours cause the story got good! It was like a book on audio in my head. Wow this sounds weird, hmpf.
AARON: This is the first time you’ve ever been a full-time writer? What’s it like? Is it true for full-time writers that unicorns visit you during the day?
Hildie: I wake to the maid bringing me freshly squeeze orange juice, followed by my personal trainer showing up in only tight shorts and glistening muscles for an hour of Pilates. After that, I sit on the veranda and look over at the ocean while I wait for inspiration to strike. If I must be honest, I stagger to the kitchen in my pajamas, put tea and cold water into the microwave (after removing a cup from the day before I forgot about). I sit down and float between Facebook and Twitter for an hour, realize my tea is cold and hit the minute button again. Then I stare at my to-do list and attempt to do the to do’s. I write on my current work in progress until I begin to get tired, and then get up, hit the minute button on the microwave again… then I repeat the entire process. I keep my unicorn in the back yard.
AARON: I said we were going talk Texas. Ever been to Texas? Your thoughts and impressions? I liked it, but then, I like country music, BBQ, and assault rifles.
Hildie: I lived in Texas for over three years while in the Army. Texas has a special place in my heart since both of my daughters were born there. It’s all about big there. Big hats, big trucks, big boots…Sigh, but enough about cowboys! I loved the food, the warmth of the people and the margaritas. Boy they sure know how to make a mean margarita!
AARON: Your heroine winds up marrying a stranger. Yeah, we know the drawbacks, but what would be the benefits of marrying someone you didn’t know?
Hildie: No preconceived notions about the other person! Hey what if you wake up to a beautiful creature that you can’t wait to get to know better? In Four Winds, It helps that both are instantly attracted to each other. Of course in Adeline’s case, she’s not who Jackson, the hero, thinks she is, which sucks for them.
AARON: So far, Where the Four Winds Collide is doing well. You said you just knew that this novel was special. Talk about that experience.
Hildie: This was the easiest book to write, I almost felt like I cheated. The entire story was in my head and I told it to my friends several times before I actually wrote it. I knew that this book would be a hit, not because I wrote it, but because the story feels so real to me. It’s a book that touches me every time I think about it, so I know it must touch others. It’s awesome that so far readers agree with me.
AARON: Any book predictions for me and my career? Fingers-crossed, I’m hoping for a multi-book contract from huge publishers wanting to pour marketing dollars down my throat. Any chance of that happening?
Hildie: YES! From what you told me about the Scyfy Western, it’s going to be a total hit! Oh and when you are offered a movie deal, I’d like to be your casting assistant. I can spot a hunk a mile away!
Aaron: Here is where you spread your links like beefsteaks on the cattle drive to Kansas.
Aaron: Now, you all have homework, including you Hildie! You have to do the following: Watch The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. Read Lonesome Dove. Read a Jodie Thomas novel. Read a Dusty Richards novel. And report back to me.
And don’t forget! The recorded interview is available! Hilda McQueen Interview By Aaron Ritchey Final Polish.MP3. Do the right click thing and save it locally so you can listen to it over and over! Send it to your friends. Well, maybe not. It’s about 25 Mb. That’d be one beefy email. Tell your friends about it and have them come and check out Hildie and me. They’ll thank you for it.
I have a day job. Yes, friends, but someday, I won’t have a day job and I’ll slave fourteen hours a day for my grumpy editor and their slashing red pens and publish a book a day until I die. And make a fortune. Maybe fame. Maybe.
In my day job, I work with hospitals and nurses, so when paranormal romance author Jean Murray and I talked, and I found out she had studied to be a nurse, I was so excited. I love nurses! Not only a nurse, but she also spent twenty years in the Navy! Yes, there will be a Village People question.
Jean Murray’s name appears everywhere in my little circle of Crescent Moon Press. In a word, a big word, she is ubiquitous! I was thrilled when she agreed to an interview.
But first, her bio. Hit me with that rhythm stick.
Bio: In her pursuit of a nursing degree, Jean Murray aspired to see the world and joined the Navy. At the end of 2011 she said a heart-breaking goodbye to her Navy family and retired after twenty years of military service. Although her dreams of writing full time have yet to come true, she continues her writing journey and draws inspiration from her travels abroad. She enjoys spending time with her family and of course, writing about the “Carrigan sisters and their mates, Gods of the Underworld,” to bring you the next installment of the Key to the Cursed series.Author Jean Murray brings a wonderful new spin to the paranormal world with her Egyptian Underworld gods. She broke ground in the paranormal romance genre with Soul Reborn and now continues the Key to the Cursed journey with Soul Awakened. See what readers and reviewers are saying about her new book on Goodreads. 5 / 5 Stars, Night Owl Reviews – Reviewer’s Top Pick ~ Soul Reborn & Soul Awakened Romantic Times (RT) Book Reviews (Sept 2011) – 4/4.5 stars/Scorcher
And her Key to the Cursed series! Two books so far, with four planned. Summary goes here! Hit me!
The Key to the Cursed series is about three sisters, Lilly, Kit and Kendra Carrigan. They grew up with sand in their shoes, playing among the Egyptian pyramids and tombs on their father’s archeological digs. With no mother to raise them and their father preoccupied with ancient artifacts, Lilly naturally fell into the motherly role, always looking out for her sisters. Kendra, the youngest, followed in her father’s footsteps and became an Egyptologist. Kit, well let’s just say she’s the black sheep of the family. She hates her mother, has serious issues with her father and has no love for mummified remains. Although an unconventional family, the sisters are loyal to the death.
LOVE – REDEMPTION – WAR
The Egyptian gods have awoken from their slumber to find the human realm cursed by revens, the human undead. An ancient evil has reignited a war against the Pantheons that promises to bring death and destruction. The Underworld gods rise to confront the enemy and find a world not worth saving. Until three humans females challenge the boundaries between life and death.
KEYS TO THE CURSED
The Carrigan sisters fight to reverse a curse that their demi-god blood released upon mankind. In their pursuit to find the cure, they encounter dark beings that open a world beyond mummies and crumbling artifacts. The Gods of the Underworld offer immortal salvation and a love without end, if the enemy doesn’t destroy them first.
So we skyped, this week I had video, and it was so much fun! Here it is, ladies and mummies, children of all Mesopotamia, the interview. It gets crazy intense, but don’t curse me. No mummy curses!
AARON: A little bit about your life right now. This question will be a potpourri, so read it twice, think about it, and answer legibly. You will be graded on style and content. You have three young boys, three! Are they more into light sabers, iron swords, guns, footballs, or Barbie? Do you like disco music? What do you order from Starbucks?
Jean: My three boys? Definitely, light sabers. I never knew that boys could make swords/sabers out of anything. Straws, toothbrushes, carrots. I think you get the idea. The fact they make the sound along with it is just hysterical. Disco music – not so much. Starbucks – Venti – nonfat – latte, please. Not all that creative, but it is all I need. Yum!!
AARON: What drew you to the Navy rather than the Army or the Air Force? Is it because they had a cool theme song? Well, the Army theme song was pretty cool too, that whole be-all-that-you-can-be. But come on, the Village People? Classic.
Jean: My dad was a Seabee in the Navy – WWII believe it or not. He only spent a short time, but I always remembered his stories. I actually became interested in the military in nursing school. I was working in a hospital as a nursing intern. Some of the nurses had worked on the unit for 20-30 years. My preceptor asked me, what do you see yourself doing in 5 years? My answer was, “Seeing the world.” My intention was to serve my country for four years. Well, 4 years lead to 6 and then 10-15-20. I always said I would get out when the fun was over, but honestly, it never did get old. Even as I accepted my flag for retirement, I wasn’t ready to let it go, (cried through the whole ceremony) but it was now time to have fun with my family. I did get to see the world – Spain, Italy, Germany, Republic of Georgia, Czech Republic, Holland, Luxembourg, Belgium, France, Bahrain and lived in VA, MD, CA. Not bad for a girl who grew up in a small town in Western PA. Why the Navy? An Officer and a Gentleman – need I say more. No really, I do so like the choker white uniforms, but it is the ocean that called my name. Ironically, the only time I spent on a ship was three weeks on the USS Enterprise. So cool! One of the best experiences of my life. In the middle of the ocean with no lights makes you realize how truly small we are in this universe. Navy slogan: I think when I joined the tagline was “Full Steam Ahead.” Or you could go with the sailor’s slogan N-ever A-gain V-olunteer Y-ourself The only slogan I didn’t quite get was “An Army of One.” For those that take that sentence literally, they are in for a big surprise. Read the small print The Village People, that just might work. LOL
In case anyone needs a refresher:
AARON: With your varied past (a liver transplant nurse, career navy, and now you work in Infection control!), and your busy present (three sons!), how does your life show itself in the pages of your books? For example, I’m Roman Catholic and angst-ridden. My books are very guilty, and oddly ceremonial. What about yours?
Jean: Most people that know me say I’m pretty upbeat. I don’t let my personal problems run over at work. I always look at the positive side of things – a cup half full kind of person. I have to keep it together even when I’m sick. As a nurse, your patient always comes first. My belief in qualities such as loyalty, honor and second chances definitely comes across in my writing. But also another side…. The cup half empty – girl, get it yourself – girl, I’m too sick– make your own supper – all gets poured into my books. Not that my books are snarky, far from it. I like to write about the darker side to our souls, the feelings we hide in our everyday lives. The best part is my lighter side, always brings the characters back to center for a HEA.
AARON: Talk a little bit about process. You utilize beta readers. How does that work?
Jean: Hello, my name is Jean Murray, and I’m a pantser. Whoo, it’s good to get that off my chest. Writing from the seat of my pants has its challenges. One, I never really know how the story will turn out until it’s finished. Yes, I have a general idea where I want to lead characters and plot, but sometimes that takes a turn midway. For example, Bomani’s fall at the end of Soul Awakened was not planned in the beginning, but when I started writing it just happened. Bomani’s story thread added that perfect punch to the plot. Also, I do so much layering after the initial draft that chapter by chapter critiquing falls short. My husband even refuses to read my books until they’re complete. I know it sounds manic, but I’ll tell you my subconscious rocks! Threads I didn’t even know I was writing come together at the very end. It is truly glorious, if I say so myself. This is one of the reasons I use beta readers instead of a “critique group/partner.” I need a fresh pair of eyes to read my story from beginning to end to see if what I’ve created works. I use both an experienced author and 1-2 readers (without a writing background). The author picks up structural, grammar and character issues (a technical read). The readers give me a snapshot on how it will be received by other readers. Their critique is more emotionally based. They focus on the overall story – did it move them, did they like the characters. This is valuable information for me. I base my changes on their feedback. They are my filter before I send to the editor.
AARON: When we talked, you said your style was kinda Urban Fantasyish, and yet you do write paranormal romance. What’s the difference? For example, an ancient evil vampire walks into a biker bar in Barstow, California. How would the scene play out in Urban Fantasy versus paranormal romance?
Jean: There are some great discussions about the similarities and differences between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal romance. I remember being confused in the beginning. Basically, the major difference is that romance is central to a paranormal romance story where in an urban fantasy the “love story” plays in the background, if at all. A UF may or may not have a happily-ever-after. In paranormal romance it is the industry standard to have a HEA. I like to walk the line between the two. Urban Fantasies tend to have more action and heavy plots (at least in my experience), which I love, love, love, but I also bring the romance center stage. The Key to the Cursed series would appeal to either genre reader. Author Marsha Moore provides a great summary of the two genres. I’m happy to fall into her “blended” version.
AARON: Your books bring the ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses into the present day, and you said unlike Greek myths, Egyptian mythology had some gaps you could creatively fill. Give us an example.
Jean: Greek mythology is fairly well defined and is more well-known, than Egyptian Mythology. The Ancient Egyptian culture dates back over 5,000 years. The only evidence we have left of their existence is the crumbling artifacts and monuments built to worship the gods and pharaohs. Only after the Rosetta Stone was discovered were we able to decipher the hieroglyphics. An interesting fact is that as the Pharaohs began to influence the religion greatly to the point they had raised their status among the gods. Prior to this, very early in Egypt’s development the gods were thought to walk among the humans bringing them goodwill and protection. Most of the gods from this period are not as clearly defined, which gives me some creative license in my writing. For example, I used the Egyptian variations of the gods names instead of the Greek translations from which people are more familiar. Instead of Osiris, I used Asar. Same god, but Asar predates Osiris’ references. Asar in the early Ancient Egyptian culture was pure, as I call it. Before the Pharaohs influenced the religion and mythology. This gives me a little latitude to develop his world.
AARON: And what’s your take on Ramses II? Was the sequel better than the original?
Jean: When I first looked at this question Yul Brynner popped into my head and his role as Ramses. LOL. What I know of the Ramses’ dynasty, I like ‘Ramses I’ origins the most. He was from humble origins and not of royal blood – a military man who rose among the ranks and to become Pharaoh. (love the underdog story) Although he was only in power for two years he was responsible for Egypt’s 19th Dynasty and one of the most recognizable names in history. Ramses II was very powerful and gained the name, “Ramses the Great.” He was only 14 when he took the throne. Over his 66 years he took 200 wives, and sired 100 sons and 60 daughters. To say the least, he was a busy man He is best known for his monuments and thought to have ruled during the Jewish exodus from Egypt. This is where Yul Brynner comes in.
AARON: Talk a little bit about Lilly’s character arc. If she walked into our biker bar in Barstow at the beginning of the book, how would that change by the end? And let’s call this biker bar, Butcher’s Bar and Grill. Butcher, like meat cutter. Cool…
Jean: A little background about Lilly. Lilly is the oldest Carrigan sister at the age of 27. She had basically raised her sisters, since their mother abandoned them long ago, and their father had been consumed by his research and archeological digs. Lilly carries the world on her shoulders, putting everyone else first. She makes sacrifices to keep her sisters safe, even if that means selling her soul to the God of the Underworld. A biker bar is perfect considering Lilly has her own apple-green Ninja and she has a snake tattooed down her back. Well, it’s a real snake. Top things off, she likes to wear black leather. Funny, you should provide this scenario, because it actually happens to her and Kit in Soul Reborn, but in the realm of the Underworld in the Warrior Tavern. It’s one of my favorite scenes from the book. From the moment Lilly and Kit walk into the bar the crowd falls silent and they know they are in over their heads. Oh, I feel an excerpt coming on…. (I’ll keep it G rated)
Excerpt Chapter 28:
“They aren’t even going to let us in the front door,” Kit said.
“Oh, they’ll let us in. Trust me.”
Lilly scanned the enormous warrior standing sentry. Over seven feet tall, he had to weigh at least three fifty packing all that muscle mass. His hair was cut short, almost shaved to the scalp. A sleeveless tunic hung from his massive shoulders and tucked neatly into his weathered, leather pants. Oddly enough, he wore no shoes. As they got closer, Lilly noticed something very unusual. Raised tattoos covered his deep black-brown skin down the full length of his arms. The sculpted markings looked like scarifications from a blade. Either way, it was some of the most beautiful and unusual artwork Lilly had ever seen.
Undaunted, she strode directly towards the door of the establishment. The sentry’s golden eyes targeted her. He stepped in her way. “Where do you think you are going?”
His deep baritone voice tested her resolve. “I want to speak with the commander in charge of this unit.” She tried to side step around him, not waiting for his permission, but was blocked by his large hand on the door.
Amusement flickered over his face. “You ladies must be lost. Servants are not allowed in these parts. I will make arrangements to return you to your god.”
“You will take me to the man in charge of this house and you will do it now.” Lilly slipped her hand down to her katana, which was neatly tucked in its sheath.
The warrior pulled his lips back over large, white teeth. “Leave, before I show you ladies exactly what we do with insolent servants.”
The fool didn’t know who he was talking to. It wasn’t the fact she was Asar’s mate. She wouldn’t tolerate that shit from him or any man. “Watch your threats, Neanderthal.”
Before his muscles contracted to grab her, Lilly twisted his arm and pinned him to the ground. The sentry’s gaze narrowed in on the hieroglyphics on her arms. At ground level with him, she pulled back her vest and revealed Asar’s mark over her breast. His eyes about exploded out of his head.
“Now, you will take me to the commander without any trouble. Do we understand each other?”
He nodded. Lilly release him, allowing him to stand. He cleared his throat and bowed. “Madame, please follow me.”
“Oh, I’m going to like this,” Kit said, a shit eating grin on her face, and followed Lilly into the dimly lit building. …………………………………………….
Soul Reborn (May, 2011)
AARON: With Soul Reborn you promoted yourself. With Soul Awakened, you hired a book tour promoter. How was the experience and what did you learn, what would you recommend people do?
Jean: If someone had told me promoting your book was harder than writing it, I would have never believed them – oh how wrong I was As an indie/small press author the onus is on you alone to promote your book. I wasn’t prepared when Soul Reborn released. I was new to the virtual social networks and really did not have the following or the web-presence. I managed my own release the first time around – contacting individual blogs, setting up reviews, setting up my own blog with posts, etc… Needless to say I was overwhelmed. It took me a while to ramp things up. I had to manage my expectations – learning the hard way that you expend more than you earn. I had a crash course in the industry. It became easier over time and I established virtual friendships and readers that really pulled me through the process and made it so enjoyable. For Soul Awakened’s release, I knew what to expect. My blog has over 1,000 followers and I continue to meet some incredible authors, readers and bloggers that make this an enjoyable journey. The second time around I decided to go with Bewitching Book Tours. It took the weight off my shoulders setting up the calendar with guest posts and reviews, so I could focus on interacting with the readers. This is my favorite part. I’m seriously considering setting up a book tour once a quarter to maintain the social presence I need to sell books. Thanks so much for the interview!