Today at Tink's Place, I'm happy to welcome a new author to the published world, Jennifer Wells.
Jennifer Wells lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and three cats. When she's not writing, Jen makes jewelry for her business, Dragonfly Design (dragonflydesign13.etsy.com), and works at 13 Magickal Moons of Occoquan, VA.
From the Cover:
Janie Adler likes her quiet, orderly life reviewing books for a small New Orleans newspaper exactly the way it is. So what if Duke Hot Pants, the hero of her favorite romance novel, is the only man in her life? She has a Pulitzer Prize to chase. That is until her quirky twin sister Rachel moves in, bringing boyfriend drama, a smelly ferret, and irrational belief in all things magickal along with her.
Persuaded by a local voodoo priestess-and maybe one margarita too many-the twins cast spells to improve their love lives. Loser-magnet Rachel focuses on avoiding the wrong men and Janie seeks her romance novel ideal. While plenty of eligible bachelors flood into their lives, Janie only has eyes for her coworker who lives in the apartment downstairs and works in the cube next to her. But the twins soon discover the incantations' many unintended-and dangerous-consequences. The increasing number of mishaps and misfortune putting the sisters in grave peril seems more like the work of a curse. Can Janie and Rachel's "twintuition" save them from the menace stalking them?
Her first book, Magick Charm was released on September 2, 2010 by Crescent Moon Press, a sweet romance with mystical castings. Congratulations Jennifer!!
Hi Jen! Why don't we start out with getting to know you? Why don't you tell us about yourself?
Thanks, Dottie! I’m really excited to be on your blog today!
Writing has always been a love of mine, but remained a hobby for me until several years ago. My husband got a job in another state, and I left my job as a research scientist when we moved. I used my newfound time to finish a book and give writing a chance as a career. This year, we celebrated our 15-year wedding anniversary a month before my book was released. I feel truly blessed that I’ve been able to finally realize my dream!
Why don't tell us about your new book, Magick Charm?
My story centers on twin sisters who cast spells to improve their love lives. But when the consequences of the spells aren’t exactly what they intended, things get complicated and dangerous.
It takes place in New Orleans, which is one of my favorite cities to visit. The atmosphere of this old Southern city, with its above-ground cemeteries, fantastic food, voodoo influences, music, and bars in the Quarter inspired me.
Was Magick Charm your first completed manuscript?
I’ve completed three manuscripts, but Magick Charm is the first one to be published. I wrote a historical pirate romance called Pandora’s Legacy first. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll revisit it and turn it into a time travel story. But in the meantime, I’ve got more of the twins’ story to tell.
How long have you been working to get published (so all the aspiring writing out there don't get discouraged, lol)?
It can be a very long road to publication! I’d been trying for about 7 years before I got “The Call” (in actuality, it was “The Email”). My husband read “The Email” to me from my phone while I was driving on route 95 on my way to Florida to visit my parents. We had to stop for a dinner break because I was shaking too hard to continue driving!
Since you're new to the publishing world, what's been your favorite part of the process?
I feel like every part of the process has been an exciting learning experience for me, especially working with my editor. The changes she suggested made a huge improvement in the manuscript. I’ll definitely be using what she taught me as I write my next book.
The biggest wow moments had to be seeing my book listed on Amazon and holding the paperback in my hand for the first time!
Magick Charm reads like a stand alone, but is there plans for a series? Do you have an excerpt you'd like to share?
I’d love it to be the first book in a series! I have a first draft of a sequel written, and I’ve got plans for at least another two books after that.
In the meantime, here’s a romantic scene from Magick Charm:
Ryan grinned at me from the doorway. "Wow, you look nice," he said. His smile went all the way to his eyes, and I was glad for the special pains I had put into my appearance tonight.
He'd also gone the extra mile to dress nicely, having traded his usual polo for neatly pressed dress pants and a button-down shirt. Sure, I'd noticed him before, but I had always refused to view him in a datable sort of light. Now that I'd started, I couldn't help thinking about him.
"Come on in." I opened the door wide and stepped back to let him in.
He glanced around my living room. "Am I the first guest to arrive?"
He didn't appear too confused by the lack of people, though. The game was up.
"Well, to tell the truth," I stammered, "it's only the two of us tonight." My cheeks must have been as red as boiled crawfish shells.
"You didn't invite me here today," he said. It wasn't even a question.
I shook my head.
"I see. This is your sister's version of a good deed?"
"Yeah," I said. "She loves to play matchmaker. I'm sorry." I'd have choked Rachel if she'd been there. I felt humiliated, yet part of me hoped he wouldn't leave.
"It's not your fault," he said.
We stood together in the middle of the living room, looking at each other and not finding anything to say.
"Listen," he said after a long pause, "we can forget about this if you want. I don't want you to be held responsible for any more mistakes your sister makes."
I was going to need a pint of Ben and Jerry's to cope. He called our date a mistake. I coached my face not to show my disappointment. "Okay," I said. "That's fine. Again, I'm sorry about my sister conning you into this. You probably had much better things to do tonight than dress up to humor me, er, Rachel pretending to be me, I mean."
Ryan's solemn expression changed to one of skepticism meshed with a glimmer of hope. "Not so fast. I'm not the only one here who dressed up."
I smoothed my hands over my skirt in a nervous gesture.
"I'm going to be honest with you, Janie," he said. "I was excited to get that message today. I've wanted to ask you out for awhile, but never got out the words."
My heart leapt at his admission. He paced a little and ran his hand through his hair, his nervous tell. This time, the gesture struck me as endearing.
"So, no," he said. "I don't want to call off the date. And I don't think you want to either."
"I don't," I said. I wasn't usually so direct, but I was sure about this. "My sister was crazy and impulsive to set us up like this. But I want to go out on this date with you. She has terrible taste in men."
Oh no, my mouth was running away without my brain's filter. Ryan looked askance at me, both eyebrows raised with amusement.
"Only usually, but she's trying to get better about it. I mean, she likes you," I stammered. Another mistake. "For me, I mean. She likes you for me."
Ryan took a step closer to me and stopped my rambling by placing his finger across my lips. It was one of the most sensual gestures I'd ever experienced. When I quieted, he lifted his finger from my lips, leaving a warm tingle in its wake.
I reflexively licked my bottom lip, as if tasting the texture of his skin. He looked into my eyes and lifted one side of his mouth in a little smile.
"What about you?" he asked. His words were quiet, and I strained to hear. "Do you like me...for you?"
My eyes slipped shut and a sigh escaped my lips. I loved the way his words rippled through my body. "Yes," I whispered. My voice sounded husky, like I'd been having sex and enjoying it. Why had I held myself back from this man for so long?
He shifted closer and leaned his head toward mine until he was so close to me I could feel his breath on the skin of my neck and a shudder coursed through me. The next moment, he stepped away. I opened my eyes and stared at him. His eyes had darkened to a whisky brown and pierced me with a heart–stopping heat.
"I like you for me too."
What's next for you?
NaNoWriMo! For those who don’t know about National Novel Writing Month, it’s a challenge to write 50,000 words in the month on November. I’ve done it every year for the past four, and it makes for a crazy, hectic, stressful, sleepless, and totally fulfilling month.
Magick Charm was begun during a previous year’s NaNoWriMo, and I’m planning to continue the twins’ story this November.
What do you do during your writing day? When is your favorite time to write, morning, noon, midnight?
The morning is for caffeinating myself and getting chores done. I usually settle down in the afternoon to write, but I’m most productive at night.
I like to write on a laptop so I can move around. When I get stuck – the dreaded writer’s block! – moving to a different location in the house to work can sometimes help.
Do you have any 'must haves' when you sit down to write?
Strangely enough, I need background noise. I’ll turn on music or the television because I just can’t focus if it’s completely silent. I also weave in a lot of pop culture references, so I’ll have True Blood on TV when one of my characters is having a True Blood marathon, for example. In Magick Charm, one of the twins sings with a band, so I put their playlist on my iPod.
But above all, a steady supply of coffee and diet soda is crucial!
When you're not writing, what do you like to read?
I read a little bit of everything, but I love paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Action thrillers like those written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child or James Rollins take up a good deal of space on my bookshelf as well.
Do you have a favorite author or all time read?
Choosing a favorite is difficult! I really like book series because they allow so much time for character development and world building. The Dark Tower series by Stephen King and the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon are exceptional in both of these areas. I’ll usually reread both of them once a year or so.
Since your book, Magick Charm, is about spell casting, magicks, voodoo, and charms; do you have a favorite witch, warlock, mage from a book, video game, or TV series?
Well, who doesn’t love Harry Potter? And Gandalf in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings is the quintessential mage. My television favorite is the girl next door turned kick-ass witch Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
What inspired you to write about your characters? Is Rachel or Janie like anyone you know?
In a way, pieces of Rachel and Janie are both me. Janie is my writing and list-making side, who is probably a bit too concerned with having a spotless house. My Rachel side loves animals and is open-minded about the metaphysical. But she also represents the outgoing spirit that I’d like to have a little more of sometimes.
As for the rest of my characters, none of them are based solely on a single person. But I’ll often weave distinctive traits of people I meet, like a particular type of laugh, catch phrase, or gesture, into a character.
Okay, now for some fun stuff! If you were stranded on a desert island and you could bring anything with you, what five things would you absolutely have to have?
Because I’m a techno-junkie, I’d have to have my iPod, Kindle, and MacBook. I always have a tube of Burt’s Bees lip balm in my pocket, so I couldn’t leave home without that. And I’d bring my cell phone so I could call for a rescue boat when I had my fill of reading and relaxing on the beach – if such a thing is actually possible!
Thanks for being here with us today, Jen! It's been a pleasure having at Tink's Place! I hope you come back for another visit! If you like to take a peek at Magick Charm or if you'd like to purchase it, you can go to Crescent Moon Press
Thanks again and happy reading!