Friday, October 26, 2012

TBR welcomes Darlene Jones

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Darlene. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Darlene: A long time ago, I lived in Mali. Every single day, I wished I could wave a magic wand to relieve the heart-wrenching poverty. The story line of my books reflects my desire to wave that wand and make the world a better place. If only wishes could come true. And of course, every novel needs its love story, so along with the sci-fi magic, I’ve added the requisite romance.

TBR: Tell us about EMBRACED and where it's available.
Darlene: When Principal, Abby Davies, shows Curtis a page of scribbles and asks him to try to figure it out, Curtis isn’t sure what to think. He likes Miss D and all. She isn’t too bad for a school teacher. You can talk to her and she doesn’t make fun. But, sheesh, a secret code from aliens? That’s just too sci fi for him. To keep her happy, he says he’ll help. Thing is, once he starts studying the scribbles, he can see messages. 

Coder Guy, as Abby calls whoever is sending the messages, wants her to fix things. What things? Abby and Curtis find the answer when letters with Abby’s signature appear in newspaper offices. The things asked for come true. But, who’s writing the letters? Coder Guy? Or Abby?

Then the reporter shows up. What is a war correspondent doing in their little town? He says he loves Abby, but he sells her story to the world; her face splashed over every television and computer screen. The next day Miss D and Curtis are the only ones who remember the reports.

That’s when real fear sets in.

Meanwhile, Yves, who fell in love with Em, has loved her through her life as Jasmine, still loves her in this life as Abby. He fumes as one of the rookie gods fumbles communication with her. Once again, Yves breaks the rules to help Abby, but with deadly results.

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
“More drawings?” Curtis gestured at the papers she held.
Abby looked down at the pages and willed her hand to stop trembling. The three pages of code drawings seemed to shimmer and shiver with a life of their own. “Yes. Three pages. From Friday, Saturday, and last night. They’re pretty … they’re … pretty well done, I’d say.”
But Curtis was no longer listening.  He waved the papers she’d just handed him and almost shouted with excitement. “These are amazing. Way better than the first drawing you brought us.”
Abby stifled a small grin, but she had to agree. The drawings outclassed her scratches a million times over. “My friend developed instant artistic talent.”
“I’ll say.” Curtis shuffled the pages back and forth. He shook his head slowly and muttered “wow” over and over. Finally he looked up at her. “Miss D, thanks for getting so many. Now we have four to compare. We’ll see if there are any repeated patterns or sequences of symbols. Your friend is great to share these with us.”
“No problem.” Oh God, I’m such a liar. Of course there was a problem, and not just because she was lying to Curtis. My friend. How lame was that? The mere existence of the pages was the real problem. Some nights the clickings chattered incessantly in her fillings, almost driving her crazy. Those were the nights of very little sleep. The weekend had been eerily silent. That was a new phenomenon since Friday, no clickings, instead Coder Guy had begun leaving the pages filled with drawings. Either way—no escaping the code.
A while back, she’d grown tired of sharpening the pencil she used each night and replaced it with a pen, which was now almost out of ink. She’d have to remember to get out a new one tonight. Or maybe not? What would happen if there was no writing utensil?
“What’s so funny?” Curtis asked. Abby hadn’t realized she’d laughed out loud. The lack of pen wouldn’t stop her night visitor. She stifled another burst of laughter she knew bordered on hysteria. Truth was, much as the pages of code scared her, she’d be devastated if no more came. The person—being, alien, Coder Guy—was an integral part of her life now; his existence had established a rhythm that kept her balanced. Or so she thought. Maybe she was completely off her rocker.
Whatever the case, she didn’t want to lose that contact. Coder Guy’s presence warmed her, kept her from feeling alone and lonely. Oh, man, I am losing it here. Really losing it.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Darlene: LOL – a bit of both. I plan out the story in my head for a long time before I start to write and I work from a very sketchy outline. Once I start writing the characters and plot seem to take over and then I fly with it. More ideas grow when I can’t sleep so I jot notes on yellow stickies in the dark and often can’t make out my scribbles in the morning.

TBR: How do you develop your characters?
Darlene: I have a general idea in my head of what each character is like and find that they develop over time as the story grows partly from what a particular situation might demand of them. A character might be mild and unassuming, but when courage is called for, they surprise me with their tenacity. In another instance I planned for one character to have a minor role, but he was so likable that I had to give him a greater presence in the story.

TBR: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?
Darlene: You know, I don’t think I’d want any of them in my house – not because I don’t love them, but because they have their own setting and I’d much rather visit them there; venture into a new world with them.

TBR: While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
Darlene: Laugh! That one book wouldn’t cut it and that I would end up writing four to complete the story. The other thing that surprised me was that I could make each book a complete story on its own.

TBR: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Darlene: My books are set on Earth with regular ordinary people. It’s when the beings “from out there somewhere” decide to take over a woman’s life that things really get exciting. I've always believed we can't be the only beings existing in the vastness of the universe. There must be others and I brought some of them along for the ride. The setting stays, for the most part, within the realities of our world, but I've found that I love the magic the sci-fi element of other beings can bring to the story.

TBR: What's next for you?
Darlene: I’m working on the final draft of book four now. It completes the series. I haven’t yet thought of what I want to do next, but I will continue writing. I can’t imagine life without it.

TBR: Any other published works?

TBR: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Darlene: The time it takes to write and edit and reedit a book and the time it takes to market are all challenging. The most rewarding is having a print copy in my hand with my name on it.

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Darlene: Yes. As an author trying to get the word about my books out there, I’d like to know what attracts a reader to try a book? What in an author’s marketing, entices you to say, “Hey, I’ll give this book a try”?

Thank you so much for this opportunity to talk about my work.

TBR: Readers, Darlene will give away a copy of EMBRACED to one lucky commenter. She'll pick a winner on Sunday, October 28 and announce the winner here. Be sure to leave your email address so she can contact you.

Thanks for visiting TBR, Darlene. All the best to you.


  1. Welcome Carlene! Love that pic of you on the camel. It looks like such fun!

  2. Hi Darlene, Cate. Great post. intriguing plot line.
    In answer to your question, I wish I knew. The market is flooded with books. I know they say FB, blogs, yadda. But, to me, the only real way is word of mouth. An until you get your book out there, do the FB and blog thing, I think it's just a matter of a good story and a lot of luck.

    I know that doesn't help much, but it's all I have. lol.

  3. Thank you so much for allowing me to visit your blog, Cate. and Lorrie, I think you're right - it'a a matter of time and not giving up.

  4. Laurie and Cate, please contact me on my site and I'll send you a Smashwords coupon for EMBRACED or a pdf file for Kindle.


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