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Sunday, January 24, 2010


Please help me welcome Jane Toombs into the moonlight today! Jane’s newest book, Null and Void, was released by Red Rose Publishing on January 21st. To learn more about Jane visit her website:


GRACEN: Thanks for joining us, Jane. It’s a pleasure and an honor to have you in the Moonlight. Now, on to the interview…Do you make resolutions for the New Year? Why or why not? If so, please share one or more of them with us!

JANE: Some years I do, some not. This year I did make one concerning my writing. I resolved to finish everything I’ve started. Which will amount to about five years of work, if I keep it. Of course if the doomsayers are right about 2012 I won't have to worry about ever getting done. But I'm an optimist, so figure I'll still be plodding along in 2013...

GRACEN: Now that the busy holiday time is over, what do you do to recharge?

JANE: The older you get the less you have to do during the holiday season. Why? For one thing. younger relatives invite you to celebrate Christmas with them instead of the other way around. These holidays happen to include my birthday. Since we were more or less snowed in on that day, I called an old friend of both of us who lived nearby to join us for home-cooked chicken enchiladas and apple crumb pie, which made it a birthday celebration But recharge? What’s that? If I get a good night‘s sleep, I‘m always charged.

GRACEN: Do you have any holiday memories from 2009 that you would like to share with us?

JANE: All my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren live much too far away to visit during the winter. So do the Viking’s. But we enjoyed Christmas Eve with my oldest niece and her family and Christmas Day with the Viking’s sister-in-law (His favorite brother died two years ago) and their family. Since both live in our tiny village, this made it easy to get to , and we were able to be with relatives.

GRACEN: What area of the country/world are you from? What are the average temperatures where you are? What type of clothing would most residents be wearing today? What tips do you have for people to “survive” the weather where you are?

JANE: We live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on the south shore of Lake Superior. Literally. From my writing room window I can see the lake , the water now way out because of the ice that’s formed near shore. I also can see a couple of ice volcano’s that spout water instead of lava--quite dramatic. In the winter we often get snowed in , sometimes with temperatures below zero. The spring is usually cool, but very welcome. Summers are delightful, in the seventies and eighties . Falls are gorgeous because of the changing leaves and we often have an Indian Summer then. We no longer participate in winter sports, but we did when younger--ice-skating, skiing, snow machines, snow-shoeing--also sledding when we were kids.

GRACEN: Do you have any favorite outside hobbies? Can you perform any of these hobbies right now? If not, why not, and is weather a factor?

JANE: I garden a bit in the summer--you ought to see my healthy rhubarb plants. But, of course, winter prevents anything like that. I’d hardly call snow-shoveling or building fires in the fireplace “hobbies” for the Viking, but he does seem to enjoy the latter. Spring, summer and fall, we walk. The Township Park is right up the road from us about a half-mile, with benches to sit on along the way. In the winter I use the exercise machine.

GRACEN: Do you prefer your hot tub inside the house or outside the house? Why?

JANE: We don’t own one. But I do use a removable bubbler called a bath spa
in the bathtub. When I lived in San Diego we did have an outside hot tub on the deck outside the bedroom. I never used it, though I did use the swimming pool out back. And worried every time we had an earthquake (at least one minor one a year) in case it cracked the pool.

GRACEN: If you could be any character/creature, who/what would it be and why?

JANE: I think I’d like to be a were-cat--cougar, preferably. I love cats. They’re so gracefully lethal. I’ve always wondered what it’d be like to actually be one.

GRACEN: Now, let’s get to your writing, Jane…Why the erotic paranormal romance genre? What was the draw for you?

JANE: Since I don’t write or read erotica, obviously it doesn’t interest me. Not because I‘m a prude--I can write a sex scene as well as anyone. But I admit that becoming an RN somehow totally turned me off from all the slang names for body parts. Another reason maybe that I‘m an old bat now. When I was younger I always preferred actually living the sex in person rather than virtually. But I find it’s still now, even though we’re golden oldies. If I’m reading a book with a lot of sex scenes, I start skipping them to find out what happens next. Because that’s why I read--to find out where the story’s going. And too many sex scenes actually spoil it for me. I want more plot, not more sex, because I already know about sex. But I certainly have nothing against authors who write that way--they‘re some of my best friends. Or readers who prefer lots of sex--I have friends there, too. If an author writes gripping stories otherwise, I do read them, but I admit I skip.

GRACEN: If you could describe your writing with a word or phrase, what would it be? Please look beyond words like hot, sexy, etc., and delve into the core of your writing to tell us what word or phrase you want readers to take with them when they've finished reading your story.

JANE: Mysterious, at times spooky, if I’m writing gothics or paranormal. Otherwise, even in a sweet romance, I do like to create high tension.

My aim is to make a reader eager to know what happens next.

GRACEN: Do the holidays disrupt your writing schedule? If so, how tough is it to get yourself back in writing mode and what have you found that seems to help?

JANE: When I still had kids at home, yes, I did take time off from writing during the holiday season, but now they’ve scattered to the four winds and, though I do take writing time off then, it’s not as much. It’s never been difficult for me to get back into writing. Maybe the first paragraph or two comes slowly and painfully, but then I’m into the story again. But, yes, I do have to force myself through those first few paragraphs

GRACEN: Do you prefer hot chocolate with marshmallows or a hot toddy? Does that show through in your writing? If so, how?

JANE: I love hot chocolate, but don’t care for marshmallows--too sweet. I have one vodka tonic mixed with cranberry juice, plus a twist of lime during our happy hour which lasts from five to six. I never have been a fan of hot alcoholic drinks. So we’re certainly moderate drinkers. Still, I have no trouble writing about alcoholics or substance abusers. Working as an RN much of my life, I’ve seen it all.

GRACEN: Who decides what characters/creatures you write about, you or your muse? What kind of influence do you have over your story, or is the muse always the one pouring the soap in the Jacuzzi?

JANE: Since my characters pop into my head as soon as I start planning a story, I assume my muse delivers them full grown. But once alive, they pretty much flow with the story. I’ve learned to know when I’m trying to force a character into an action because the flow stops. I no longer try to go on when that happens, because I’ve learned that means rewriting later. I just stop writing for awhile until I realize what the character would do instead.

GRACEN: What creature/character did you have the most fun creating and why?

JANE: The Volek twins in the first book of the Moonrunner Trilogy, where one suspects the other of being a shapeshiifter, not knowing until too late that he’s wrong- because HE is the shifter. In this trilogy it’s no fun being a shifter, because when back in human form you have no knowledge of what happened when you were in beast form.

GRACEN: If you had the opportunity to meet just one of your characters in real life, who would it be and why? Which of your characters would you never want to meet under any circumstance and why?

JANE: Since my vampires are always villains, I certainly wouldn’t want to meet any of them. And though I love shapeshifters, I don’t think in real life I’d care to meet any of them, either. Maybe the djinn who was the hero of The Turquoise Talisman. He was one neat guy.

NULL AND VOID, the first book in the new SHADOWED HEARTS gothic series from Red Rose Publishing, comes out in January.

BLURB: Two ten-year-old girls, Mandy and Air vanish from the grounds of Null House one evening. The next day one is found so traumatized she can’t remember what happened and doesn’t even know her name. A barrette in her hair identifies her as Ari. Her Uncle and Aunt take her to live in another state, but her memory never returns. Twenty years later , she‘s invited back to Null House, but is afraid to go. The child‘s voice that whispers in her mind, though tells her she mist. Because “It‘s time…”


"Home. I'm going home." Ari London said the words aloud as she drove along the narrow black-topped county road on a cool June day. Yet it wasn't the truth. Null House had never been her home, not exactly. Still, she'd lived in Michigan's Upper Peninsula until--the bad time. Until whatever it was had happened. The first ten years of her life were closed off to her, inaccessible. Uncle Matt had told her what he knew about those years, but it wasn't much. She really didn't want to come back here. Maybe she wouldn't have if the child's voice hadn't whispered in her head so insistently the past few nights.

Time to go back. You need to go back. Now.

Ari's chest grew heavy. What could Henrietta LaBranche want from her after all this time? Mandy, Henrietta's granddaughter, had been dead for twenty years. True, Ari and Mandy were supposed to have been together when Mandy was killed. But surely Mrs. LaBranche knew Ari had no memory of the terrifying experience that had shut down her mind and wiped out the first ten years of her life.

She took a deep breath as she turned her beloved old Beemer off the county road and into a narrow drive between huge trees that looked to be virgin pine and hemlock. Glancing at the June sunlight slanting through their branches, words popped into her head. Harpers hoar. She frowned. Forest primeval? Longfellow?

A sudden clear vision came without warning. She remembered being in fifth grade, of Ms. Gorney reading his poem to the class and her romantic idea of Null House's big trees as giant harpers using their branches as strings to play wind melodies. She waited for more memories to flood in, but that was all. Everything else about that time was still locked inside the dark closet of those missing years.

Obviously coming here, though, and seeing the old trees was the reason the harper memory had returned. Was it possible being at Null House might unlock that closed door and give her back more of those lost ten years? Ari swallowed to relieve a throat gone dry with apprehension. Uncle Matt had told her no one knew what had happened to her and Mandy. Did she really want to find out?

She swung around a final curve in the long drive and Null House loomed before her--three stories of Victorian extravaganza wrapped in what looked to be worn cedar siding. Balconies thrust out here and there, along with two cupolas at the top. She recognized the place from photographs Uncle Matt had shown her, sent to him by her mother before what Ari always thought of as the bad time.

Nothing about the house seemed familiar to her, even though Uncle Matt had said she'd spent much of her time here with Mandy because Ari's mother had been Mrs. LaBranche's cook.

She sighed, sad that she had no memory of her widowed mother, who'd died of a heart attack shortly after hearing Ari had been found alive. Uncle Matt, her mother's brother, had come to the hospital and taken her to live with him and Aunt Connie in Illinois. He'd shown her photos of her mother with Henrietta LaBranche, but if he hadn't pointed out her mother, Ari wouldn't have known which was which.

What did Mrs. LaBranche want from her? What did she expect? The letter inviting her to stay at Null House had said only that something had come up she hoped Ari could help her with. What?

She parked the car in the circular drive. Before she climbed the wide curving steps to the open porch, she muttered, "I'm here, for better or worse. I hope you're satisfied." Shaking her head at the folly of speaking to the disembodied child's voice that sometimes whispered to her at night, she mounted the steps to the massive front door. No doorbell. She grabbed the bronze knocker, belatedly noticing, half hidden in the twining metal leaves, a satyr face with mocking eyes. Grimacing, she let the knocker drop against the plate. The door opened.

Ari blinked at the man who opened it, only now realizing she'd expected him to be an old man, dressed somberly in black. Expected him to be Arthur, the LaBranche houseman, who always greeted her with a welcoming smile. Another bit from her childhood had surfaced, unsettling her.

While the dark-haired young man did wear black jeans and T-shirt, his unsmiling gray eyes were cold as November rain as he blocked her way in.

“You shouldn’t have come,” he said.


What's going on with Janet Lane Walters (Dame Amber)? Pop over to Jewels Of The Quill where we have a monthly newsletter and prizes galore!

My website:

2010 January releases:
Nightingale Man from Champagne Books
Null and Void from Red Rose Publishing's new Shadowed Hearts Gothic Series

1 Moonbeams (comments):

Unknown said...

Hi Gracen & Jane :)
Thank you for the interview and thank you to Jane for sharing. I really enjoyed learning about Jane and her writing. To keep the reader eager to know what happens next is an excellent goal! Thank you for the great excerpt too.
All the best,