Hello! We at Night Owl Reviews are pleased that you have granted us an interview. We would love to get to know your group. Could you please start by telling us a little about what Jewels of the Quill is?
Jewels of the Quill is a group of award-winning women authors. We write in over 40 categories of fiction, nonfiction, and everything in between. Among the 12 authors in the group, we've had over 300 books published with 68 contracted for by 78 publishers. We've won or finaled for almost 180 awards. Our books are available in mass market paperback, trade paperback, hardcover, electronic, Large Print, and audio formats. In short, we offer something for every reader. What you'll find on the Jewels of the Quill website:
Jewels of the Quill members are Margaret L. Carter (Dame Onyx), Christine DeSmet (Dame Moonstone), Liz Hunter (Dame Garnet), Dee Lloyd (Dame Aquamarine), Carrie S. Masek (Dame Topaz), Nancy Pirri (Dame Sapphire), Barbara Raffin (Dame Jade), Jane Toombs (Dame Turquoise), Janet Lane Walters (Dame Amber), Karen Wiesner (Dame Amethyst), C.J. Winters (Dame Tanzanite) and Karen Woods (Dame Coral).
Visit our website at http://www.JewelsoftheQuill.com and sign up for our newsletter, Fans of Jewels of the Quill, to be eligible for our giveaways by sending a blank e-mail to FansofJewelsoftheQuillfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Jewels of the Quill was featured in the September 2003 issue of Romantic Times, and Karen Wiesner has written a book, called The Power of Promotional Groups, about how to set up a successful promotional group like Jewels of the Quill. Jewels of the Quill has sold several anthologies to Whiskey Creek Press http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com, including:
Tales from the Treasure Trove, Volume I was released September 2005. It received a 4 1/2 star review and was a September 2005 Top Pick from Romantic Times BOOKclub,was a Romantic Times' 2005 Reviewers' Choice Award winner (Best Small Press Romance), an EPPIE 2006 winner, a Love Romance's Golden Rose Reviewer's Choice Award winner as well as an Ecataromance Best Book of the Year (2005) winner.
Tales from the Treasure Trove, Volume II, which also received a 4 « star review from Romantic Times. Also a recipient of a 4 « star review from Romantic Times, Tales from the Treasure Trove, Volume III is currently a finalist for the 2008 EPPIE Award (single title/mainstream category).
Tales from the Treasure Trove, Volume IV will be released in March 2008 with Tales from the Treasure Trove, Volume V coming September 2009.
Jewels of the Quill also does annual holiday anthologies with Whiskey Creek Press, including:
The first anthology was Christmas-themed and titled Small Gifts. Treasures of the Heart was a Valentine's Day anthology, a finalist in The Romance Studio's 2005 Cupid and Psyche Awards for best contemporary romance and also in the 2006 CAPA's for best anthology.
Shadows in the Heart was a Halloween anthology, which received a 5 angel review from Fallen Angel Reviews. Shadows is currently a finalist for the 2008 EPPIE Award (horror category). The cover of Shadows, designed by Karen, was a recipient of EPIC's 2008 Dirk A. Wolf Honorable Mention Award for Excellence in eBook Cover Artwork (horror category), which honors the runner-up covers in the 2008 Ariana Best in Category contest!
Christmas Wishes will be the groups' second Christmas anthology, to be released September 2008. Magical Kisses will be the groups' second Valentine's Day anthology, coming February 2009.
Now, let's talk to some of the authors who participated in the anthologies.
Christine DeSmet is one Jewels of the Quill's original members, Dame Moonstone. Christine, what about the moonstone appeals to you?
The moonstone is said to be droplets of the moon. It's associated with romance, healing, emotions, and a touch of mystery because it has a shimmering quality on its white surface. Sometimes you can see the Man in the Moon's face in the stones; other times you see a rainbow. I love that combination of romance and mystery in the gemstone.
You've contributed several series' in Jewels of the Quill anthologies, including your popular Mischief in Moonstone Series and a new one starting in Tales from the Treasure Trove, Volume IV. Tell us about these stories.
These are all humorous romantic mysteries that are sweet and sensual, but anything too sexy stays behind the closed door. The stories are set in a small town on the south shore of Lake Superior in Wisconsin. It's a place of tall pines and rugged people who fish, hunt, run small hardware and grocery stores, and really care about each other. Northern Wisconsin is like the Wild West in that new characters move in all the time, from artists to criminals, which my stories reflect. Why did I create Moonstone? There's a tradition of Southern literature set in small towns, such as Jan Karon's series about Father Tim, and I wanted to put a spotlight on the funny, great culture and food that is Wisconsin's own. Each of my stories features real-life Wisconsin traditions and something scrumptious and surprising on the menu. The food is often integral to solving the mystery.
Visit Christine's websites at http://www.angelfire.com/stars4/kswiesner/jewels2.html and http://www.dcs.wisc.edu/lsa/writing.
Liz Hunter is one Jewels of the Quill's first members, Dame Garnet. Liz, what about the garnet appeals to you?
Garnet is my birth stone, but I never knew the history of the gem until I started the Troubled Waters Series. Supposedly a magnificent garnet provided light for Noah's Ark. Also the gem is medicinal in some diseases, including arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
You've contributed one, long-running series in Jewels of the Quill anthologies, your romantic suspense fused Troubled Waters Series, which is also available now in one volume with two bonus stories in the series. Tell us about these stories, and about "Garnet Greetings", coming in Christmas Wishes.
All five stories in the Troubled WatersSeries collection are set in Wisconsin and include a thread of suspense, as well as romance. You might also remember CJ from my nautical romance, SAIL AWAY (Champagne Books), who now has his own happy ending.
My tale for "Garnet Greetings" is a departure from the series, possibly a bit grittier that the story collection, more emotional in depth. Wish me luck in writing it!
Visit Liz's website at http://www.lizhunter.com.
Dee Lloyd is the newest member of Jewels of the Quill, as Dame Aquamarine. Dee, what about aquamarine appeals to you?
With my lifelong love of water, Dame Aquamarine is the perfect name for me. The color is beautiful. I love swimming, canoeing, sailing...anything you can do in or on water. I spend two months every summer on my 2 acre island in the middle of a little lake in the Almaquin Highlands of Ontario and try to spend at least a week every winter on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.
Starting in 2009, you'll begin contributing to Jewels of the Quill anthologies with a story in Tales from the Treasure Trove, Volume V and another in Magical Kisses. Tell us about these stories.
In Tales V,my story is "Return to Aquamarine", in which Nita McCulloch returns to her hometown, and former lover Scott, in Aqua, for serenity. But when her manager disappears, Nita suspects it's connected to her husband's murder. Can Scott help her find the truth?
In Magical Kisses, my story is "Telephone Tag Winner". Marina thinks a blind date at a Valentine's Day car rally is scraping the bottom of the barrel for a chance at romance. En route, the multi-vehicle fender bender that leaves her leaves her bruised and slightly concussed is even more depressing. As she waits to be taken to hospital, she leaves a message canceling her date-on the wrong answering machine! The mistake that could be downright embarrassing.or the best thing she's ever done.
Visit Dee's website at http://www.deelloyd.com.
Carrie S. Masek is also one of Jewels of the Quill's pioneer members, Dame Topaz. Carrie, what about topaz appeals to you?
Topaz is a beautiful gemstone. While not as rare as emeralds or expensive as diamonds, topaz comes in many colors, from deep brown to a clear, bright blue. My favorite is the traditional golden yellow, though I once saw a picture of a topaz that was as deep a red as any ruby. I would love to have that one in a pendant! When invited to join the Jewels of the Quill, I researched the myths surrounding several of my favorite gemstones. I wanted one that was both lovely and relevant to my writing. Many of my stories and novels revolve around magic, so when I read that topaz was renowned for detecting and dispelling evil enchantments, I knew it was the one for me.
You've contributed several stories to Jewels of the Quill anthologies. Please tell us about them.
I love reading and writing short fiction. There's something magical about a whole story unfolding in just a handful of pages. That's probably why my contributions are among some of the shortest in the Jewels of the Quill anthologies. Three of them so far have been urban fantasies. "The Topaz Locket" (TALES I) is about dream lovers connected by a magic locket. "Special Delivery" (SMALL GIFTS) is a ghost story set on Christmas Eve. "Trick or Treat" (SHADOWS IN THE HEART) is about enchanted costumes and the danger of getting what you wish for. Even my more traditional stories concern a magic of sorts, the healing power of love. In "Desert Rose" (TREASURES OF THE HEART), the love of a good man helps the heroine overcome the legacy of her husband's tragic death. "Petals of a Topaz Jewel" (TALES IV) is a bit of a departure from me. It also concerns loss and healing, but I don't want to give away the surprise ending by revealing how. You'll have to read the book to find out.
I'm currently working on stories for two upcoming Jewels of the Quill anthologies. "Magic Kisses" will be my contribution to MAGICAL KISSES. The story is about a psychic, a computer geek, and a heart-shaped box full of-you guessed it-magic kisses. "Lunch at the Topaz Diner" is the working title for a story I'm writing for TALES V. It's about second chances and the courage it takes to embrace them.
Visit Carrie's website at http://www.masek.net.
Nancy Pirri is the groups' Dame Sapphire. Nancy, what about the sapphire appeals to you?
Variations and brilliance of color, and blue is my favorite color, too.
You've contributed several single title series to Jewels of the Quill anthologies, which are packaged with a bonus story in your first Dame collection, Dame Sapphire Treasures, and you'll be starting your first series in the Jewels of the Quill anthologies with your Sapphire Palace Series. Tell us more.
The Sapphire Palace Series stories are set in Bozeman, Montana in the 1870's. The story idea(s) came to me during my research of the area in that period of time. I learned that Montana was wild and wonderful, and that saloons and brothels were in abundance. The miners who'd come from all over the country, and the cowboys herding cattle from the southern United States to the north, needed a place for room and board. The Palace was exactly that-a rooming and boarding establishment, not a brothel. Though the hero, James Freeman, in my first book, "Sapphire Dreams", believes the palace is a brothel and attempts to close down the place. "Annie's Outlaw" will be released in Christmas Wishes, with the last story, "Jane and the Judge" included in The Sapphire Palace Series collection (release date TBA).
Visit Nancy's website at http://www.nancypirri.com.
Barbara Raffin is also one of Jewels of the Quill's earliest members, Dame Jade. Barbara, what about jade appeals to you?
My dad served in India during WWII and brought home a chunk of jade. That stone always fascinated me. It reminds me of him and was something that's been part of my entire life. Today, that piece of jade, polished on one side, sits on my desk.
You've contributed two stories to Jewels of the Quill anthologies. Please tell us about them.
The idea behind "Jaded," which appears in Tales I, grew from a diner where I lunched with my fellow Jewels following a book signing. The place was straight out of the `50s with chrome and red vinyl booths and black and white checkered floor. But what really spurred my tale of two lovers and their counterpart ghost lovers was the cookie tin on the shelf above our booth. Inside the can were notes left by prior diners. The next thing I knew, I was asking myself, "What if a wounded by love waitress found a note in that tin that hit too close to home and what if that note had been written by a wealthy man afraid to trust in love?"
"The Sting of Love" was spurred by a Hollywood contest which was a promotional scheme for an upcoming movie by Rob Reiner. Well, I didn't win the contest so I published the story instead in Treasures in the Heart. It was a fun story to write about people not always being what they appear to be. The heroine is a forest ranger who's stuck with the fluff job of babysitting some Hollywood action hero who's researching his next role. Just her luck, the `star' falls into a ground hornets' nest. Mmmm. Now who do you think is going to have to treat all those stings?
Visit Barbara's website at http://www.BarbaraRaffin.com.
Jane Toombs is one of Jewels of the Quill's maiden members, Dame Turquoise. Jane, what about turquoise appeals to you?
I'm a Capricorn with a December birthday so it's my birthstone. The gem has long been associated with good fortune and success, plus spiritual attunement. Who could ask for anything more?
You've contributed one, long-running series in Jewels of the Quill anthologies, your romantic paranormal fused North of Nonesuch Series, which will also be available in one volume with two bonus stories in the series in November 2008. Tell us about this series.
All except the first of my JOTQ turquoise stories have been set in "North of Nonesuch", which is a fictitious county in Michigan's Upper Peninsula named after a defunct copper mine "Capricorn Capers" starts there, but takes a side trip to the Isle Of Capri with a most unusual hero. "Let My Bones Rest" is also set in Nonesuch, and involves strange mounds that have never been explored (and actually exist). The hero and heroine are at odds about what should or should not be done to these mounds, complicated by a thief who has no scruples. These two stories will be included in my North of Nonesuch Series.
Visit Jane's website at http://www.JaneToombs.com.
Janet Lane Walters is one of the newer members of Jewels of the Quill, as Dame Amber. Janet, what about amber appeals to you?
When asked to pick a gem for JOTQ, my birthstone was taken so I went through my jewel box and looked at the various gemstones in there. I came upon a pair of amber earrings with small insects in them. The warm yellow color also appealed to me as did the magical quality of this gemstone that is featured in some of my favorite fantasies.
Starting in 2008, you'll begin contributing to Jewels of the Quill anthologies with a fairytale-like series called The Amber Chronicles. Tell us about these stories.
"Woman Cast in Amber" came about when I looked at those earrings. What if a woman was trapped in a piece of amber? The story needed to be told like a fairytale because it's about love and sacrifice. The tale continues in the second story, "Woman Freed from Amber", just finished, which tells how the woman was freed. Again, love and sacrifice are involved. Then there are the five princes who were trapped into the amber globe. Perhaps there are more stories in this series.
Visit Janet's website at http://www.bookswelove.net/WALTERS.html.
Karen Wiesner is the founder of Jewels of the Quill, the groups' Dame Amethyst. Karen, what about the amethyst appeals to you?
I chose the amethyst gem because I adore purple-the lavender (or darker bluish variety) versus the plum-ish red type of purple, and amethyst fit that perfectly. Plus it's so cool to be called Dame Amethyst. I've used it as a heroine's name and as the name of a town in my Jewels of the Quill anthology stories-it worked beautifully in both cases. I'd love to be named Amethyst Wiesner. I guess if I ever take a pen name.
You've contributed many series' in Jewels of the Quill anthologies, several of which are packaged as collections separate from the group anthologies with bonus stories. Tell us more.
Visit Karen's website at http://www.karenwiesner.com.
My first collection was Dame Amethyst Treasures, which included the first three novellas I did for JOTQ anthologies, plus a bonus novella. Adventures in Amethyst Series was my first series collection and included the first two stories in the series published in JOTQ anthologies, plus two bonus series' stories. My third collection, Woodcutter's Grim Series-Classic Tales of Horror Retold, comes out September 2008, with "Papa" (published in Shadows in the Heart) and "Blood of Amethyst" (coming March 2008 in Tales from the Treasure Trove, Volume IV). Two bonus stories in the series will be included in this collection: "Dancing to the Grave" and "The Amethyst Tower." I expect this collection to be the first of many, since the premise of the series simply begs for many new stories to be written. In September 2008, I start a new series in JOTQ anthologies with "Perfect Cadence", Book 1 of my Kaleidoscope Series, to be released in Christmas Wishes. Look for six other stories in this series, to be published in JOTQ anthologies and one or more Kaleidoscope Series collections with bonus stories.
C.J. Winters is Jewels of the Quill's Dame Tanzanite. C.J., what about the tanzanite appeals to you?
I'm hypnotically attracted to the glorious purple-blue color.
You have contributed and will in the future offer a mix of stories to Jewels of the Quill anthologies, including young adult, paranormal romance and suspense. Tell us about your contributed stories.
I like paranormal subjects, and humor. "The Tanzanite Curse" (in Tales III) and sequel "The Tanzanite Return" (in Tales IV) reflect my speculation on predestination and love that transcends lifetimes. "White Elephants" (in Shadows) began with my asking, "What happens when characters discover a hundred-year old skeleton in a house they're demolishing on Halloween?" "Princess and the Tanzanite Necklace" (in Tales V) is the result of tossing together a refined male interior decorator, a rough-edged female P.I., and a pampered bulldog.
Visit C.J.'s website at http://www.cjwinters.com.
Thank you for this opportunity!