Wednesday, January 25, 2017

An Interview with Laurel Wanrow, author of Passages

Mia Jo has welcomed me on her blog today to share my book release, but first congratulations, Mia Jo, on your release of Other Than! It’s such an exciting feeling to let your novel out into the world. Mia Jo and I critiqued together as part of the RWA fantasy chapter’s Mudpuddle group, and now how fun is it that we have releases so close together?

I’m excited to share some highlights of my writing process for Passages, my science fiction romance, and my writing in general.

1. Tell us a little bit about how you came to write Passages.
I had a dream about a fellow on the run who was trying to help his grandmother along with him. Then, she fell and couldn’t continue. She was telling him how to help her, but the words came out confused in that way things do in dreams. He should let her pass, but she wouldn’t be dying, is what I understood, just changed, but the same. It would be a passage, and the grandson would be helping her to make it. When I woke up, the word ‘passages’ was repeating in my head. I pretty much had the first scene of the novel, and asked myself, what happens next?
Many storylines boiled up from that one question, but the one that stuck was this fellow would be lost without his grandmother, because he has amnesia.

2. Is this the hero, then? What about your heroine?
He is. It took me a long time to work out Quinn’s backstory and his reason for being on this alien planet, which means it’s revealed to the reader in pieces, too. In the meantime, Eve, the heroine, had a very clear story—she died during the Great Pestilence. Yes, died, and was given a second chance to use her emphatic gifts of an electorg—a human with electronic implants—to help others. Eve’s first life helps her fit into her second as a community mediator with several other electorgs.

3. What genres do you write in? Why?

Everything I write is fantasy. My settings may change—historical to contemporary to futuristic—but the story will always have a thread of magic. Hand-in-hand with magic is mystery, every story has something mysterious going on, and a happily ever after, of course!

That’s fantasy, mystery and romance, but I have a science background and lifelong love of nature, which means my characters’ stories also reflect their connections to nature and the land. There is no ‘book category’ for that, so I’ve made up my own: ‘fantasy tuned to the magic of the land.’

4. Do you believe writers are born to write or learn to write?
I believe storytelling is innate—it’s how we passed time around the fire, the kitchen table, the TV and, now, our monitors. But one needs to learn the techniques to best present the story, and that’s different for every person. A wealth of resources is available, in books, online and in person. Two books I recommend are The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler and Save The Cat by Blake Snyder. The online writers forum I use is

5. If you had one take away piece of advice for writers, what would it be?
 ‘Never give up. Never surrender.’ I first heard that quote from Galaxy Quest in a motivational keynote speech by Jo Ann Ferguson. It was my 2nd RWA conference and the advice made such an impression on me that I’ve never thought I wouldn’t publish.

6. What is up next for you?
 I’m currently writing the 4th novel in my fantasy series The Luminated Threads, but I’ve toyed with a sequel for Passages. The secondary character, Evard, is such a tease he’d be a fun hero. I’ve included an excerpt with him in it, too.

Thanks for having me, Mia! 
Hi, Mia Jo here. I'm really excited about Passages'publication. I used to wait for Laurel to post chapters, so I could continue on the adventure in this story. I asked Laurel to share an excerpt, so you can see why I liked Passages.

Eve shoved him aside and pulled me against her. “Evard, you’re scaring him. Intimidating, threatening…don’t.”
Her reprimand hardly registered, since it wasn’t for me. I had the woman pressed to my side. A first in my fractured memory. Everything about her was soft and warm—her arm around my waist, the swell of breast at my ribs, and the curve of hip against mine. Each point of contact was duly noted and registered like a brand upon my brain.
Scents of leather, the musty books and a hint of lilacs wafted to my nostrils. I couldn’t say how it happened, but my arm lifted, draped around her shoulders and brought her even closer.
Her wide gray eyes snapped to mine. Her lips parted around my name, and at the warmth of her breath, my muscles tightened. “Evard is just excited.”
“Just excited!” He tugged at her arm, cutting through my daze.
It was as he’d said earlier. She knew both that I was startled by Evard’s gesture and that he meant no harm. Of course, the signs were all there—expressions, intonations, physical cues—but she’d “read” them instantly, eerily so, but not entirely out of the realm of scientific believability.
“Evy, you don’t understand. He’s living on Edge. This is so much more than exciting. An adventure in the making—”
“No! No discussing it, not now. Quinn, go shower.” She rotated neatly from under my arm and shoved the jumpsuit to my chest. Her firm hand directed me to the door while she squabbled with Evard to force him back to work.
I lingered to watch them, reveling in the memory of Eve’s softness pressed to me. Eve had hugged me. Never mind that she now focused on her run-mate, holding him by the chin and then the ear, like he was a toddler whose attention she had to refocus from an unattainable toy. I grinned at his predicament.

Follow the Passages Blog Tour to read more science & fantasy tidbits!


“Find someone you can trust.”

For decades, Eve and her fellow electorgs—part human, part machine—have worked on the quiet planet of Aarde, beating back toxic spores that threaten to poison the native people. When the new commander halts work right before a deadly spore release, Eve frantically plots to protect the villagers she considers friends and family.

On the run after an ambush, Quinn holds a secret that nearly got him killed. If only he knew what it was. Though the attack scrambled his memories, Quinn is sure of one thing—he can’t trust the electorgs. But they know information he desperately needs to puzzle out who wants him dead, and why.

With the fate of life on Aarde in the balance, the logic of joining forces with Eve overrides Quinn’s fears…and erupts into an attraction that could prove fatal for both of them.

Because the planet’s commander might just be Quinn himself.

Passages is on preorder & sale for .99 through February 5th.
Add Passages to your Goodreads shelf!

Author bio:
 Before kids, Laurel Wanrow studied and worked as a naturalist—someone who leads wildflower walks and answers calls about the snake that wandered into your garage. During a stint of homeschooling, she turned her writing skills to fiction to share her love of the land, magical characters and fantastical settings.

When not living in her fantasy worlds, Laurel camps, hunts fossils and argues with her husband and two new adult kids over whose turn it is to clean house. Though they live on the East Coast, a cherished family cabin in the Colorado Rockies holds Laurel’s heart.

Find Laurel at:

Below are the bloggers participating in the Blog Tour for Passages. Each stop will have excerpts and tidbits about the science & fantasy, and a chance to win the tour prizes: a $10 Amazon eGC or a sign paperback of Passages. (Giveaway open to US/CAN)

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Do You Binge Watch?

Yesterday, I didn’t get much done. Instead, I binge-watched Rick and Morty with my son. It’s an animated sitcom about the adventures of a granddad and his grandson; however, it just so happens that the grandfather is a brilliant scientist and a sociopath.

Rick and Morty isn’t the first series of binge watched. Over thanksgiving, my friend and I spent a day learning about the good people of Coal/Hope Valley in When Calls the Heart.

I’m a fan of this quick, extreme viewing practice. Watching an entire series in a short time allows the viewer to see the character arcs clearly and there’s no problem remembering the details from one episode to the next.  A couple of years ago, I got into Breaking Bad. I borrowed the DVD of the first season from the library over the weekend and loved it. I requested the next seasons and I still remember waiting on pins and needles over the next weeks for them to come in. I had so many questions. Would Skyler and Hank catch Heisenberg? Would Jesse find love? Would Gus finally get the better of Walter?  Yep, I truly was a binge-watcher. I still am, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. The Statistics Portal, a site that claims to report statistics and studies from more than 18,000 sources, states that, “according to a 2015 survey, some 86 percent of trailing Millennials and even 33 percent of those over 69 years old engage in binge-watching TV series.”

Are you, like me, one of these people? What have you watched? What do you want to watch? Here are thirteen shows I have watched.

1. Breaking Bad
2. Friends
3. Sherlock
4. Downton Abbey
5. When Calls the Heart
6. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
7. Doctor Who
8. Parks and Recreation
9. The Walking Dead
10. Game of Thrones
11. Orphan Black
12. Firefly
13. Rick and Morty

I guess marathon-viewing might be a bad thing if a person allows it to get in the way of his responsibilities or his interaction with loved ones., but it could also be a good thing. An article on the Readers Digest site says, “if you get into a show with your partner or pals, experts argue it could bring you closer.” The post goes on to say that talking about a show and the characters in it can help an individual start conversations and express her opinions about life.  Let’s do that currently. What shows have you watched? What series have I missed? Do you have any suggestions?


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Year Wishes and Thanks

Hi! I'm grateful to have enjoyed 2016 with you and I'm looking forward to sharing 2017 together. I've some good news to share at

I invite you to visit and find out what it is.

I wish you all the best in 2017!

Echoes of the Past, in the Present and the Future

by Eilis Flynn

Recently—very, very recently, even though I should have read it months ago, but then I got very, very busy—I read Heather Hiestand’s If I Had You, her introduction to the Jazz Age, with vague threads to her Redcakes series. It’s a fun book (with the sequel coming up in February 2017), so I won’t spoil it for you, but I can tell you that the subplot deals with the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, when the disenfranchised Russians poured into Europe, running from the savage revolutionists and those who glommed on and began gleefully pillaging whatever they could. What happened to those fleeing Russians, trying to forget the horrific murders and executions, all too often having occurred because someone coveted a piece of jewelry or a plot of land and decided that informing on someone was the way to get it? That there was blood spilled of the innocent wasn’t their concern.

Because historical romances so often pay short shrift to anything other than the romance (don’t get me wrong; it’s the heart of the story, but there has to be something other than heart to keep the entire thing alive), this subplot with ousted Russians seeking revenge is both fascinating and insightful into the Britain of the 1920s. Of Europe in the 1920s, come to think of it. Our hero and heroine meet in London, both fish out of water—she’s from the countryside, and he’s from out of the country (yes, Russia! How did you guess?)—and they’re both running from their past. The Great War scrubbed both of their past (her parents perished on the sinking of the Lusitania; his parents were executed because they had property a cousin wanted, and his older sister executed because she was a conspirator) and now, they have to create their own future. When better than the Roaring Twenties? (Because of my many years working on Wall Street, I’ve long had an interest in the end of the 1920s, so what led up to 1929 always interested me too.)

Anyway, the themes that Hiestand used here are universal, so as I was reading away, hoping for more and more details about 1920s Britain (the details she used for her Redcakes series, about the well-to-do Victorians, really described the rise of the society), it occurred to me that the parallels to modern-day society were pretty clear, and it also occurred to me you could build another society in the far-flung future, using the same themes of loss and revenge and rebuilding.

Anyway. I have to add that I’ve known Heather for many years, but I always make a point of buying her books. Interested in relatively modern history? Interested in how the past always, always informs the present and the future? You’ll like If I Had You.

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for 40 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at and reached at If you’re curious about her books, check out In any case, she can be reached at