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The Talented Claire Davon

November 14, 2018 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , ,


Claire Davon can’t remember a time when writing wasn’t part of her life. Growing up, she used to write stories with her friends. As a teenager she started out reading fantasy and science fiction, but her diet quickly changed to romance and happily-ever-after’s. A native of Massachusetts and cold weather, she left all that behind to move to the sun and fun of California, but has always lived no more than twenty miles from the ocean.
In college she studied acting with a minor in creative writing. In hindsight she should have flipped course studies. Before she was published, she sold books on eBay and discovered some of her favorite authors by sampling the goods, which was the perfect solution. Claire has many book-irons in the fire, most notably her urban fantasy series, The Elementals’ Challenge series, but writes contemporary and shifter romances as well as.
While she’s not a movie mogul or actor, she does work in the film industry with her office firmly situated in the 90210 district of Hollywood. Prone to break out into song, she is quick on feet and just as quick with snappy dialogue. In addition to writing she does animal rescue, reads, and goes to movies. She loves to hear from fans, so feel free to drop her a line.

Jann: Today we are talking with multi-genre author Claire Davon.

Jann: Tell us about the world you have created for the Elementals’ Challenge.

Claire: This is a paranormal/fantasy world that overlays our human world. Humans cannot see the paranormal or supernatural beings around us, but they are there. In the Elementals’ Challenge series each Elemental (earth, air, fire, water) has an antagonist called a Demonos with similar element powers to the Elemental. Every so often, approximately once a century, both the Elementals and the Demonos become aware of that “Challenge” is coming. They must fight each other. If the Elementals win ALL their battles then humanity is safe. However, if any one of the Elementals lose then they have to fight a final Challenge together and if they lose that then the Demonos are allowed to wreak havoc over humanity. The last time it happened was World War II. They do not expect Challenge again this soon, but as the stories open, the Elementals feel the unmistakable call of Challenge.

Jann: Fire Danger, book one in the Elementals’ Challenge—did you have both Rachel Quinn and Phoenix characters in mind when you started to plot the book?

Claire: Yes I did. Fire Danger started over ten years ago when I had this idea for the Elementals. Phoenix pretty much came to mind right away, as did Rachel, but they evolved when I went back to rewrite. In the original draft Rachel was fully human initially and that just didn’t work with how I envisioned the story. I decided that each of the partners of the Elementals should have similar aspects to their powers, so fire to fire, air to air, etcetera. I wanted Rachel to be able to stand alongside a thousand-year-old immortal fire Elemental and hold her own.

Realizing that, as well as finding my way out of a terrible plot hole I had dug for myself, was what enabled me to re-start the series and energize it with my current ideas. The result is as you see!



Jann: Book Two in the series, Air Attack, which came first the characters, Clea and Griffin or the plot?

Claire: Griffin did. He has a minor part in Fire Danger so his character was partly established when I started writing Air Attack. I do that with all the books. Ondine has a small part in Air Attack as well and Masud and Shani (Sphynx) turn up in Water Fall.

Clea was later. I knew I wanted a goddess but I realized when I started getting deeper into writing paranormal and fantasy stories that I didn’t always want to go with traditional pantheons, so the Greeks/Romans/Egyptians were out. I love the pantheons I found, especially the Tuatha dé Danann, to create her backstory and her heritage. So much rich history there I was unaware of! Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some Griffin. So handsome, such wonderful wings, so ready to fall in love and he doesn’t know it…hee hee.

It was interesting to research gods that aren’t in the everyday lexicon. In keeping with the idea behind Fire Danger I wanted Clea to have air powers, and she got them from both sides of her god heritage. Each partner is instrumental in helping the Elemental achieve their part of Challenge, which is a piece of the series that weaves throughout all five books. In the end that part of the puzzle will be important.

Jann: Lara’s and Sullivan’s story released in October, book three in the series, titled Water Fall. Books One and Two came out within six months of each other. When did you have the plot for book three?

Claire: Actually, Fire Danger originally came out in June of 2016 when Samhain Publishing released it. Unfortunately, Samhain closed two weeks prior to their March, 2017 release of Air Attack. I got the rights to both books back but redid the cover for Fire Danger and put it back out in May of 2017, and then sent Air Attack through another edit and cover design before releasing it in November of 2017.

Water Fall took an interesting journey. Ten plus years ago all of my Elementals were male but when I went back to the series a few years ago that didn’t sit well with me. Therefore Ondine (and the female half of Sphynx) were born. I love Ondine/Lara because I think she brings the human side to the world of the Elementals. Ten years prior to the start of her story she was an ordinary human and then she suddenly is imbued with the power of the water Elemental when the prior Elemental is killed. In the span of a heartbeat she goes from being a human to being one quarter of some of the most powerful paranormal forces on the planet.

Here’s the really funny part about Water Fall. I wrote the first draft with a different character as the hero. The entire time I’m writing it the shark shifter, Sullivan, kept hammering on my brain. But I was stubborn and stuck with the other character until The End. Then I finished, took a beat and said “yeah…nope. Sullivan is her hero” and re-wrote the entire story with him as the MC.

The plot evolved once I knew her antagonist, the giant Iku-Turso (from a Finnish legend). Think of the Kraken and you have the idea of the Iku-Turso. I wanted to combine Lara’s journey into Ondine with the idea of this implacable underwater beast that is little understood. Add in some Haitian gods and other shifters and Water Fall became something I didn’t expect. But I like where it went!

Jann: July 25, 2018, Book One in your new Universe Chronicles series,Shifting Auras, made its debut. I understand you are working on Book Two. What can you tell us about this new world and the characters? When will book two be available?

Claire: This is such a fun series to write! Part X-Men/Gifted and part romance, the Universe Chronicles imagines a world where there are people with talents such as telekinesis and psychic powers that are loosely grouped into a U.S. agency (Universe) and a former Russian one (Night Stars). Both groups have had an uneasy existence with each other this entire time, trying to get the upper hand on the other. As the series opens Maya Wingfield, who is an unaffiliated psychic, finds herself in Richmond and into the hands of Universe and handsome telekinetic Ian Sanderson, who is suspicious of her. Universe thinks she may be a Night Stars spy or, worse yet, part of a new group called Whisper that is targeting all talents who are twenty-five years old. The people behind Whisper, and the reason they are interested in people that age, make up the story arc that will go across the series. Each couple has their story but there is an underlying story that goes throughout.

There actually were U.S. and Russia agencies that looked into paranormal phenomenon decades ago. The U.S. agency was the Stargate Project and the Russian one was Blue Stars. The movie The Men Who Stare at Goats was loosely based on the Stargate Project.

Book two takes Ian and Maya’s boss Quillan on his own romantic journey. A Night Stars agent, Jiana Falco saves him from being hit by a car and declares she wants to join Universe. Jiana has an interesting talent where she can see and manipulate shadows. She and Quillan wind up on the run and – well – love and mayhem ensues!

As for when it comes out, my deal with Soul Mate Publishing is on a book by book basis. I am just about ready to query my editor and see if she wants to see it to publish it. Fingers crossed she will!

Jann: Can you share with us what’s on your writing horizon?

Claire: I am always writing something. At the moment I have stories in several different anthologies that should be out by the end of the year. They are as follows:
• The Only One Alive-Transcendent-release date TBA but by the end of the year. This is an odd little psychological story that is a touch horror and a touch weirdness.
• Encounter With a Spring Goddess-Spring’s Blessing-November, 2018. This is a fantasy story about little-known Spring goddess Artio and her encounter with two orphans in the woods.
• Touch of the Silver Dragon-Downstream-release date TBA. This is a lovely dragon story that works off the theme I’ve developed for any dragons I write. In this one a captured dragon and a hopeless, but not helpless, servant girl in China bond together to survive.
• Mother’s Night-Tell-Tale Press. An anti-Christmas story of sorts that weaves in pagan goddesses, St. Nick and a beleaguered Santa Claus. I don’t know the timing on this one.
• Of Water and Fire-Belle Muse Press/Voices of the Deep-this is part of a mermaid/siren box set that will be available for pre-order on November 14th and released November 23rd. This novella is a continuation of a short story I wrote a year and a half ago for a now defunct publisher telling the story of a college-age siren and the descendant of Hephaestus who gets involved with her. In this tale there is another demi-god on campus who wants her to sing for him and will go to any lengths to make that happen. The gods—and the volcanos—of Hawaii are displeased by this.
Next year I have stories in two box sets that I am still working on:
• Souls and Shadows box set-a collection of paranormal stories with magic elements and, of course, romance! I am working on this story but there will be a demi-god and a magical being who is affiliated with Hecate (yep, I went Greek on both of these box sets). This should release mid next year.
• When Darkness Falls box set-I’ve got another demi-god and a gorgon in this one. I think the gorgons were terribly mistreated and very misunderstood. In this book which will be the start of (yet) another series our gorgon and our half banshee/half Greek god are tasked with finding out who is killing gods. This should be out mid next year as well.
If all that isn’t enough, once I finish with edits on Tracking Shadows (Universe Chronicles Book 2) I am going right into edits for Earth Tremors, the fourth Elementals’ Challenge book. I hope to get that out later next year.

If anyone wants to find out more about me you can visit my website at www.clairedavon.com, or if you want to join my Facebook author page that’s https://www.facebook.com/ClaireDavonindieauthor/
Thanks for hosting me!


Jann: Claire thank you so much for taking time to share your world.


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Veterans Day and Doughnut Dollies

November 11, 2018 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , , , , , , , , ,

I love this fabulous painting outside the Salvation Army Building in Tulare, CA re: the photographer © Karinoza – Dreamstime.com .


I was a doughnut dolly.

Back in the day, I served with the U.S. Army in Livorno, Italy. My job was to make coffee and play pool with the troops, set up entertainment and gourmet tours.

And make cookies. I whipped up hundreds and hundreds of cookies. Chocolate chip.

And doughnuts, too. I got help from the mess hall sergeant, a bespectacled guy from the Midwest who let me commandeer his big pots. Along with my Italian liaison, Maria, we’d cook up hot doughnuts and top them with powdered sugar we got from the PX, a sweet favorite with the boys.

Those were the days.

I’m proud of the time I spent with US Army Special Services — I made turkeys, fruitcakes, hot chocolate, and tons of cookies!

So on this Veterans Day I think about all the Doughnut Dollies who helped bring our servicemen and women a touch of home.

Especially on this 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day when the treaty was signed in a railcar in the French forest on the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour.

God bless all those who have served our country. Thank you.


PS — For fun, I put on my old uniform with U.S. Army Service Clubs patch. And yeah, I lost the hat years ago somewhere in Italy.

For this Veterans Day, my Civil War time travel romance is on sale for 99 cents!


She wore gray…he wore blue…but their love defied time

Love Me Forever


How many women soldiers fought in the Civil War?

And check out this audio/video excerpt from Chapter 1 of my WW 2 sweet romance.

Christmas 1943

American soldier and an Italian nun in war torn Italy dare to fall in love…

The captain thinks he’s found Shangri-La until he realizes there’s stolen art, Nazis and a whole lotta snow

A Soldier’s Italian Christmas on Amazon


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An Ideal Halloween Read: Love Bites, by Annabelle Costa

October 28, 2018 by in category Book Reviews by Geralyn Corcillo, Things That Make Me Go Mmmrrh . . . by Geralyn Corcillo tagged as , , , , , , , , , ,

Wow! I recently read the most wonderful Autumn/Halloween read! Love Bites, by Annabelle Costa. This is NOT your run-of-the-mill vampire book at all! This novel weaves together two suspenseful, eerie, mysterious narratives. Tom Blake is a young man in 1905 who is falling in love when he gets his first job. Soon he’ll be out of his cruel father’s house and his life will truly begin … but why does he have such a craving for blood? When he is working at the butcher shop, and every time he gets close to his sweetheart Mary…

In present day New York City, Brooke wonders if adorable, reliable, all around good-guy Jamie might be more than a friend. When her gorgeous friend Sydney is murdered and strange things start happening to Brooke, she turns to Jamie and yeah … she’s pretty sure he’s more than a friend. But before she can act on her realization, Hunter T. Stone walks into her life and mesmerizes her. Brooke finds herself under his spell, but the closer she gets to him, the more it seems like he has something to do with Sydney’s murder …

OMG this book is soooooo good!!!! It hits the ground running and both narratives unfold with compelling grace and precision. The romances and the spine-tingling mysteries kept me turning the pages, ravenous to devour every next word! And the best part? As the story unfurled, I had NO IDEA what was going to happen – or even what I wanted to happen! I didn’t know who was going to end up being the good guy or the bad guy. I couldn’t guess who was going to end up with whom. Every new chapter offered another tantalizing piece of the puzzles, something else to consider. The stakes keeping getting upped and upped and upped! Even when you reach the climax, you still have no idea how it will all play out until the very last page. What an exciting read! Sex in the City meets Sleepy Hollow in an intriguing and unique book about vampires, murder, romance, and survival. A perfect Halloween read!

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Getting Down to the Business of Writing & Publishing Romance With Mary Castillo #onlineclass @A_SliceofOrange #OCCRWA

October 23, 2018 by in category Online Classes tagged as , , , , ,


Business of Writing Graphic


About the Class:

The moment you start writing a book with the intention of publishing it – self or traditional – you are in business. And if you’ve never run a business before, you may need this class. Scratch that. You need this class. Trust me.

I’m Mary Castillo and once upon a time, I dedicated my life to writing and publishing novels. But I didn’t know how one got paid. Or, that I’d have to pay taxes on that income in quarterly payments, or that my writing career would go one way and then quickly head another way and through it all, a mission statement I wrote in a moment of frustration would keep me focused when the road got rough.

What you’ll learn in this workshop are some of the things I learned the hard way, and some of the things I did right without knowing that they were the right things to do!

Our sessions will uncover sound practices in business planning, finance and marketing that will sustain you through your career. You will learn:

  • How to create a business plan
  • Why numbers are important on deciding what to write next
  • How you can start to identify your readers and help them find your books
  • How your creative author brain makes you a powerful authorprenuer
  • Who are the leading experts in today’s publishing world and why you might want to follow them

Author Mary Castillo

About the Instructor:

It is no wonder that Mary Castillo is a  paranormal mystery and romance author. She grew up in a haunted house.

Her mom once found her in the closet talking to the nicest lady who had a daughter and two sons. Mary was the only person in the closet and the more questions her mom asked, the plainer it was that her then three-year-old child described the previous (and deceased) resident of their house!

Fast forward many years later, Mary now writes the books she loves to read—chilling, paranormal mysteries in creepy old houses with a sexy hero and kick-butt psychic heroine, Dori O. The first book in the series, Lost in the Light was a Daphne Du Maurier Award finalist and the audiobook title won the 2018 Audiobook Review Listener’s Choice Award in Mystery. It was then followed up with Girl in the Mist and Lost in Whispers (a Maggie finalist!). Mary serves as vice president of communications for OCC RWA and at the moment, does not live in a haunted house. To learn more about her and her books visit: www.marycastillo.com.

Enrollment Information:

This is a 4-week online course that uses email and Groups.io. The class is open to anyone wishing to participate. The cost is $30.00 per person or, if you are a member of OCCRWA, $20.00 per person.

To sign up or for more information, go to the class page at the OCC/RWA website: http://occrwa.org/classes/online-class-three/.

Linda McLaughlin
OCC/RWA Online Class Coordinator

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Author Spotlight on Kat Martin

October 18, 2018 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Spotlight tagged as , , , , , ,

Kat Martin Spotlight | A Slice of Orange


Kat Martin | A Slice of OrangeNew York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Her last novel, BEYOND CONTROL, hit both big lists … NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST as well as the USA TODAY BEST-SELLING BOOKS LIST. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.

Her November 1st release is WAIT UNTIL DARK.

P.I. Jonah Wolfe knows trouble when he sees it. So when April Vale storms into his office at Maximum Security, all his warning signs flash red. April’s been accused of murder, except she has no memory of how she woke up in her coworker’s bed–drenched in his blood–shot with her gun.  As the campaign manager for the mayor, April’s job is on the line.  Even worse, her life may be on the line if she doesn’t figure out who’s trying to frame her.

The clock is ticking and the pair must find the killer… before April winds up dead.




Kat Martin


The sound of voices cut through the pounding in her head, dragging her from a dark void into the light of day.  As uniformed policemen streamed into the bedroom, April Vale looked down at her naked body and saw a sea of blood soaking the mattress.  A naked man lay beside her, a bullet hole in the center of his chest.

A scream tore free as she recognized David Dean, Mayor Rydell’s campaign manager.  Then strong arms hauled her upright and a wave of dizziness hit her, making her stomach roll.  One of the officers draped a blanket around her bare shoulders and they hustled her over to a chair by the window.

Fighting a fresh wave of nausea, April gripped the blanket, her body shaking head to foot.  “What…what’s happening?”  She didn’t realize her hands were being cuffed together in front of her until she heard metal clanking and cold bands of steel wrapped around her wrists.

“What’s your name?”  The room swarmed with policemen.  The one in front of her was stocky and balding, in his early forties.  A pair of EMTs rushed into the room and began working over the bloody man on the bed, but his eyes were open and staring at nothing and she knew he was already dead.

April swallowed the bile in her throat and fought to clear her head, but when she tried to remember where she was or how she got there, all she came up with was a blank.

“I don’t understand what’s happening,” she said, trying to keep the blanket around her.

“This will all go smoother if you cooperate,” the stocky policeman said.  “Tell us your name.”

“I’m…I’m April.  April Vale.”  She glanced over at David.  The hole in his chest seemed even bigger and bloodier than before.

“Can you tell us the name of the victim?”

Victim.  A thick lump rose in her throat, threatening to choke her.  “That…that’s David Dean.  We work for Mayor Rydell.”

A young officer with black hair slicked straight back from his forehead walked up.  “Looks like we’ve got the murder weapon, Sarge.  It was right there on the floor next to the lady’s purse.”

April frowned, her mind foggy again.  “Wait…wait a minute.  What’s going on?  I don’t understand.”  Her fingers tightened on the blanket, trying to keep it in place over her naked body.  “I don’t know how I got here.  I don’t remember what happened.”

A gray haired man in a navy blue suit brought the gun over in a plastic bag.  She recognized the little .380 she carried for protection.

I’m Detective Sullivan.  Does this belong to you, Ms. Vale?”

She took a deep breath.  “I think it’s mine.  I have one like that.  I have a legal permit to carry.”

The EMTs began checking her over, her blood pressure, her vision, whether or not she had a concussion.

“We need to get her to the hospital,” one of them said, “have her checked out, get a blood sample.”

“Hospital?  I don’t want to go to the hospital.”

A female police officer walked up just then.  “We’ve cuffed your hands in front of you so you can hold onto the blanket.  If you cooperate, we’ll leave them that way.  If not, we’ll have to cuff them behind your back.”

She closed her eyes.  This couldn’t be happening.  “You think I shot him?  I don’t even know how I got here.”

The woman’s expression never changed.  “You need to go to the hospital.  We need to make sure you’re okay.  If you were drugged, it’ll show up in your tox screen.”

Tox screen.  Drugs.  Her pistol and a dead man.

That’s when it began to sink in how much trouble she was in.  That’s when April’s brain finally started working and she began to figure out what she needed to do–before things got a whole lot worse.


At the sound of the glass front door swinging open, Jonah Wolfe looked up to see a tall, leggy redhead walk into the office.

“I hope she’s looking for me.”  Jason Maddox, one of the country’s top bail enforcement agents and one of Jonah’s best friends, had an eye for beautiful women.  This one definitely met Jase’s exacting standards.

But being a former undercover police officer, Jonah noticed more than her stunning face and figure.  Her hands were shaking as she approached the receptionist desk and her face was pale.  He wondered what kind of trouble the lady was in.

“May I help you?”  The receptionist, Mindy Stewart, shoved up the tortoiseshell glasses perched on the end of her nose.  She was petite and cute, and smart enough not to date any of the confirmed bachelors who worked at Maximum Security.

“My name is April Vale.  I’m looking for Jonah Wolfe.”

When Maddox groaned his disappointment, Jonah’s focus sharpened on the redhead.  He rose from behind his desk and started toward the front of the office.  A waiting area with a dark red tufted leather sofa and matching chairs, oak coffee and end tables, gave the place a western feel that perfectly suited the misfit Texans who worked there.

“I’m Wolfe,” Jonah said when he reached her.  “What can I do for you?”  His gaze ran over her, taking in her spectacular curves.  He couldn’t help hoping she needed him for something a lot more intriguing than his skills as a private detective.

He might have smiled, would have if a TROUBLE sign wasn’t stamped in the middle of the pretty lady’s forehead.

“My name is April Vale.  Thank you for seeing me.

“No need to thank me, Ms. Vale.  I haven’t done anything yet.”

“I’m hoping you will.”  She had the face of an angel and legs that went on forever.  But she was a redhead and all that fiery hair just ramped up the warning signs flashing in her big blue eyes.

“Is there somewhere we can speak in private?” April asked.

“Conference room.  Follow me.”  As he led her down the hall, she caught an appreciative glance from Jax Ryker and Dante Romero, the only other guys currently in the office, but she didn’t seem to notice.

“This way.”  Jonah held open the door to a glass-walled chamber with a long oak table seating twenty.  April walked in and he waited for her to take a seat.

She smoothed the navy blue pencil skirt she was wearing with a pair of sky high heels.  She looked good.  Classy but not completely untouchable.   “As I said, I appreciate your seeing me on such short notice.”

“Not a problem.”  Jonah leaned back in his chair.  “All right, April, why don’t you tell me why you’re here?”

She took a deep breath, drawing his attention to the full breasts he’d been doing his best to ignore.  Since he never mixed business with pleasure, he shoved the buzz of attraction he was feeling to the back of his brain.

“I work for Mayor Rydell,” April said.  “Currently I’m….  I was just released from police custody a short time ago, Mr. Wolfe.  That’s…that’s why I’m here.”

Jonah straightened in his chair.  “You were under arrest?”

“Officially, I haven’t been charged yet.  But the charge could be murder.”

Jesus.  He hadn’t seen that one coming.  Now she really had his attention.  Jonah leaned toward her.  “So who did you kill, Ms. Vale?”


WAIT UNTIL DARK is available for pre-order and will be released on November 1st.


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