10/20/09 update!Here is Barbara Monajem's gorgeous cover. She sent me one I was able to upload while retaining its striking color theme. Quite an improvement over the one you'll see later in this post. Covers really do matter, don't they?
When my first novel, Maidensong (written as Diana Groe) came out, I didn't know much about the beast of publishing. My learning curve was steep, but not nearly steep enough. Now I know how important it is to get the word out about a new release and it's almost impossible to start too soon.
That's why I'm glad to introduce Barbara Monajem, a new author, to you. Her debut title SUNRISE IN A GARDEN OF LOVE AND EVIL won't be out till next April, but I wanted you to get to know her ahead of time. So I invited her here to share a bit with you today. I had a bit of trouble with the jpg of her cover. It's really a striking black/white and red design, but the colors came out strangely. Sorry.
Barbara Monajem wrote her first story in third grade about apple tree gnomes. After dabbling in neighborhood musicals and teen melodrama, she published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. Now her kids are adults, and she writes paranormal and historical romance for grownups. She lives in Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and mostly feline strays.
And now my blog is now yours, Barb. Take it away!
I love writing about heroines whose talents I can’t aspire to. This is vicarious competence, I suppose. My heroines have plenty of emotional issues (which I don’t envy), but they’re always good at what they do, which is anything from painting to embroidery to costume design, from baking to pottery to gardening. Ah, gardening! I would love to have a green thumb, but when faced with heat, mosquitoes, and voracious weeds… I wilt.
Not so the heroine in SUNRISE IN A GARDEN OF LOVE & EVIL, which will go on sale March 30th. Ophelia Beliveau is a landscaper in a small town near New Orleans. She’s not much for housework, but in the garden, Ophelia rocks! Not only does she design and plant exquisite gardens, but the demon wisteria that strangles my pine trees, pries the siding off the house, and sneaks in the windows wouldn’t daunt her one bit.
She’s also a vampire.
Impossible? Well, Ophelia’s not your standard vampire. I’ve never been too keen on the undead aspects of vampires. (Wouldn’t they have bad breath? And I’m a day person. I don’t want to write about someone who’s only awake at night.) On the other hand, I love the sexy characteristics! So Ophelia has fangs and is irresistible, and has a few enhanced senses, as well as saliva that heals wounds.
But as Ophelia learns at puberty, being irresistible sucks. When her friends grow breasts, she sprouts fangs as well. As she matures, so does her craving for sex and blood. The problem is, guys get possessive or obsessive, or even downright violent. In desperation, she decides to give up on men, and sticks to it for two whole years.
But when a vandal destroys her garden, her self-imposed exile comes to an end. A web of blackmail and murder is being woven across town, with Ophelia at its heart. Into her life comes Gideon O’Toole, a sexy, persistent detective determined to uncover far more secrets than Ophelia can afford to bare.
Here’s an excerpt:
Gideon left the headlights on and the engine running, got out, and held the door open for his dog. “Put the gun away, Ophelia.” He walked calmly toward her. “It’s only me.”
“I know who it is.” Ophelia’s voice broke, and a tear spilled treacherously down her cheek. “Go away!”
“Don’t call me that! I am not sweet.”
She watched Gideon control himself and start again. “I brought Gretchen to stay with you. She’ll warn you if there’s any danger.”
How had he come up with such a blessed idea? “I don’t need her. Take your dog and go home.” Ophelia bit down hard, piercing her lip, ignoring the blood, fighting tears, wanting the dog like crazy. She felt so alone.
Anguish in his voice, Gideon said, “Ophelia, don’t cry. Honey, you can’t think I’d harass you after what you’ve been through tonight.”
“You are harassing me,” she choked out. “I am not honey. I am poison. Get the hell away.” Gretchen trotted up and stuck a cool nose under her hand. Ophelia’s fingers moved by instinct toward the dog’s curls, but she yanked her hand away, clenching and unclenching her fist, needing and wanting the animal so much it hurt. “Gretchen doesn’t want to stay with me. She’s yours. Take her and go away.”
“I discussed it with her on the ride over, and she agreed to stay with you.”
“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.” Ophelia cocked the shotgun. “Get off my property and don’t come back.”
Gideon swore under his breath. “Stupid or not, Gretchen is staying with you.” As if on cue, the dog planted her butt on the drive.
“Damn it, Gideon!” Ophelia let out a scream of rage and fired, kicking up gravel far too close to Gideon’s feet. He didn’t flinch. He didn’t move a goddamn hair. “Don’t you get it?” she yelled? “I’m trying to protect you from yourself. I am not safe!”
“‘That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard in my life,’” Gideon echoed in bitter mockery. “You could at least come up with an intelligent lie.”
Ophelia opened her mouth and shut it again. Pissing him off was what she wanted. Still, the disgust in his voice tore into her.
“I’m out of here,” he said. “I won’t come back unless you need me.” He turned to the dog. “Stay, Gretchen. Stay with Ophelia.” He got in his car and backed into the turnaround, flinging his last words through the window. “What makes you think I give a damn about being safe?”
My question for you: What talents do you aspire to? What would you have your heroine do, that you know you can’t (or won’t) do yourself?
Thanks for being here today, Barb!
If you want to know more please visit Barb's website: www.barbaramonajem.com
PS. If you haven't entered my Merry CHRISTMAS BALL CONTEST, please do it today! The prize is a $100 B&N gift card and the drawing will be held Dec. 1st.