Thursday, January 20, 2011

Guest Author, Jana Richards

Today we welcome Jana Richards, fellow Wild Rose Press author, 2008 Eppie Award finalist, and author of one of the Crimson Rose line's popular Jewel of the Night series stories, involving the mystery surrounding an infamous Blue Diamond. Jana also has several Free Reads available on her website, including one about her pug/terrier mix Lou, that pet lovers won't want to miss. Jana and I share an interest in women's health issues, and Jana has graciously agreed to return on February 2 to guest blog about back pain, something most, if not all, busy writers experience from time to time. But today we'd like to help Jana celebrate the release of her latest novella, Flawless.
First, a little bit about Jana: She's tried her hand at many writing projects over the years, from magazine articles and short stories to paranormal suspense and romantic comedy. She loves to create characters with a sense of humor, but also a serious side. She believes there’s nothing more interesting then peeling back the layers of a character to see what makes them tick.
When not writing up a storm, working at her day job as an Office Administrator, or dealing with ever present mountains of laundry, Jana can be found on the local golf course pursuing her newest hobby.
Jana lives in Western Canada with her husband Warren, along with two university aged daughters and a highly spoiled Pug/Terrier cross named Lou.
France, 1942. The world is at war. The Nazis have stolen the infamous blue diamond, Le Coeur Bleu, intending to barter it for weapons that will destroy the Allies. Jewel thief Hunter Smith is given a choice; help the French Resistance steal back the diamond and avenge the death of his best friend, or stay locked up in an English prison. He chooses revenge.
Resistance fighter Madeleine Bertrand’s husband died when he was betrayed by Hunter Smith. How can she now pretend to be married to the arrogant American? How can she betray Jean Philippe’s memory by her passionate response to Hunter’s kisses? Neither is prepared for the maelstrom of attraction that erupts between them. To survive they must uncover the mysteries of the past and conquer the dangers of the present. But first Madeleine must decide if her loyalties lie with her dead husband and the Resistance or with the greatest love of her life.
“From now on you will be known as Jacques Lemay, Monsieur Smith.”
Monsieur Gagnon filled his pipe, dropping bits of tobacco onto his wife’s immaculate floor. Madeleine sat off to one side of Monsieur Gagnon’s kitchen, watching as Madame Gagnon prepared breakfast for her husband and their “guest.” Madeleine silently seethed as Smith—non, Lemay—helped himself to another piece of bread. Did he have to eat so much? Didn’t he know that food was scarce here in Lille, just as it was all over France?
She listened as Smith handed over the new two-way radio to Monsieur Gagnon and explained its use.
“It’s supposed to have a clearer and stronger signal than the radio you’re using now,” Smith said. He flipped a few dials to illustrate. “They also told me it is easier to scramble the signal to avoid detection.”
“Bon.” Monsieur Gagnon beamed in pleasure. “Good communications are essential to our work. Thank you for bringing it.”
“No problem. What else can you tell me about my cover here?”
“You are to work as a junior gardener at the chateau. I wrote to the head gardener, as if I was you, inquiring about work. He’s desperate for help. The Germans have rounded up many young Frenchmen and shipped them east to work in factories in Germany, so there are few able-bodied men available. You start tomorrow.”
He paused as his wife set a bowl of porridge in front of him. Monsieur Gagnon could not be connected with Jacques Lemay in any way; their comings and goings to this house had to be done with the utmost discretion. Madeleine knew the importance of keeping Monsieur Gagnon and his wife safe. He was the heart of their operation, their connection to the outside world through the radio he operated. If something went wrong and Hunter Smith was captured, it was crucial that no trails led back to Monsieur Gagnon. The safety of their réseaux, their Resistance network, depended on it. She hoped Smith understood the danger.
“I said in the letter that you had not worked as a gardener before, so he is not expecting you to know the difference between a delphinium and a dianthus.” Monsieur Gagnon poured milk onto his porridge. “But he is expecting you to work hard. If you don’t, you could be fired, or your cover could be blown.”
“I can manage.”
“The job might require a little more than sticking a shovel in the ground occasionally and spreading a bit of manure,” Madeleine said. The others turned to stare at her.
She immediately regretted her sarcastic remark, regretted throwing his words in his face. She shouldn’t let this man get to her, but she couldn’t seem to stop herself. They needed to work together for the sake of the mission. But she hated him. After what he’d done to Jean Philippe…
Hunter’s gaze locked with hers, and the heat of his anger scorched her clear across the room. She refused to back down from the challenge in his stare. She’d be damned if she’d let him intimidate her.
“Madeleine, enough.” Monsieur Gagnon spoke sharply. “Regardless of your feelings, we need him. He is our only hope for getting the diamond out of the hands of the Nazis.”
He was right. If they couldn’t steal Le Coeur Bleu, Jean Philippe would have died for nothing. She couldn’t let that happen.
She inhaled deeply and looked away. “All right. We’ll work together.”
For more information, please visit Jana at her website.


Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Jana,

I enjoyed your excerpt. Like you I have a day job which I balance with my writing. I tried golf - my husband is a PGA teaching professional so you'd think I would be good at it - but it was challenging for me stamina-wise. If golf were only 5 holes in a game, it would be perfect for me, LOL!

Best of luck with your new release.


Jana Richards said...

Hi Maggie,
Thanks so much for stopping by.

I think my husband would love your husband's job! Being on the golf course all the time would be hog heaven for him.

I really only took up golf because he liked it so much, and I wanted to able to spend time doing something together. And it's been great to go out on the course on a beautiful day together or with friends. But I'm not very good. I don't even keep score. I'd probably golf a lot better if I played more, but then it would cut into my writing time. I'd rather be a better writer than a better golfer.

Golf can be hard on the back. I've found that out the hard way. I try to do some stretching before and after golf to avoid pain. As Liana said, I'll be talking more about writers and back pain when I return on Feb.2

I hear you about the length of the game. Eighteen holes takes a long, long time to play. Five holes sounds just about right to me too!


Keena Kincaid said...

What a fabulous excerpt, Jane. Tension infuses the scene, and even though Smith says little, he lights up the page.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Keena,
Thanks! I really appreciate that!

I've been wanting to tell you that I read "Something More" and I just loved it. You've gotta love a girl who can take down a guy twice her size!

All the best,