Death in a Blackout- Official Launch Day Giveaway!

Jessie: In New Hampshire, where the magnolias have left me utterly smitten!

Today is the official North American launch day for the first novel in my new WPC Harkness series, Death in a Blackout. I couldn’t be more pleased to see this novel out in the world in all its various forms! I am particularly delighted that the audiobook debuts today. The narrator has a charming and fresh voice and I am delighted that she agreed to participate in the project!

Some of my novels seem to simply appear. My Beryl and Edwina books feel to me as if almost as soon as I think of a basic premise the entirety of the story arrives tumblety-whack like a whirlwind. A title suggests itself, secondary characters and circumstances seem to flesh themselves out and the sounds of all their voices begin to race through my mind almost unbidden.

Then there are the other stories, the ones like my very first, Live Free or Die, or my first historical Whispers Beyond the Veil, that creep up on me slowly, a kernel of an idea humming and growing and quietly gathering other ideas to itself until it tugs at my sleeve and asks to be prioritized. Death in a Blackout was just such a novel. I have been thinking about WPCs for years before I created Constable Doris Gibbs for my Beryl and Edwina books. My protagonist, WPC Billie Harkness grew out of spending odd moments here and there considering the lives of female police officers between their inception during WWI and the modern day.

I met a charming woman at the New England Crime Bake named Avis Crane long before I thought much about WPCs who was kind enough to lend me her name for use when the time seemed right. Avis Crane was simply perfect for the role of my young protagonist’s superior officer. It had been so long since I had first asked for permission to use it that I felt compelled to confirm the real Avis was still willing to share! Fortunately for me, she was gracious enough to do so after so much time had passed!

Even the idea of setting the novel in Kingston-Upon-Hull was a long and winding road. I knew I was interested in coastal cities and towns in the UK and had gone on a bit of a research binge quite some time ago. I was particularly interested in port cities with significant immigrant populations as well as shipyards. When Hull came up in the course of that research I discovered that after London it was the city that suffered the most significant bombing devastation in the UK during WWII.

Finally, all of those small, stray bits coalesced and grew into a cohesive story. As I look back I am so grateful that this story came to find me and allowed me to be the one to gather it up and send it along. I hope you will enjoy the new characters, a bit of history, and of course, the mystery! I have three copies to give away to randomly selected commenters.

Readers, do projects and ideas ever whisper at you for years before you take action on them? Writers, do you have books that come to you all at once and others that simmer for ages?

49 Thoughts

  1. Honestly think they do to everyone. It’s just some are adventurous to eventually go with them. Sometimes it’s timing and sometimes it’s just having the courage to that that first major step to making it a reality.

    “Death in a Blackout” is on my TBR list and I can’t wait for the opportunity to read it. Love the cover!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  2. I’m so excited for this new series, Jessie and to pick up my copy at Jabberwocky Books! I’ve experienced both the full-blown and the creeping-up books – as well as the persistent ones that refused to go away even when I thought I didn’t need them.

  3. Congratulations on your release. Can’t wait to read!

  4. There are projects that come to me in dreams, so I understand your “creeping ideas.” And, your first book, Live Free or Die, is a fabulous book that I enjoyed reading. Hope this new series is a big hit with all mystery readers! Good luck!

    1. Aww, thanks, Judy! I have only had a book suggest itself to me in a dream once and I still haven’t written it yet. Perhaps it just needs more time!

  5. Excellent, Jessie! And I love the cover of your latest book. The longest journey between the initial idea and project execution is often the inches separating my left and right ears — LOL!

    1. I love that image of the inches between your ears! I shall keep it in mind the next time my brain is offering up excuses or suggestions!

  6. Oh heck yeah, sometimes projects have to bubble and boil in my brain for a while before I put them in motion! Like my gardens…I have visions of how I want the flowers to be arranged and come up at different times but that vision keeps changing. So it takes time, but that’s okay – sooner or later, I’ll get it right lol! Congratulations on your new book!

    1. As a fellow gardener, I completely understand the visions for flower beds and the way it might change! Isn’t this a glorious time of year?

  7. Congratulations on the new release, Jessie! Hope you have an amazing release day!

  8. Congrats on your new series! And I’m the same way with writing. Sometimes the story comes easily, and other times it takes a while to form.

  9. Congratulations, Jessie!

    Yes, I know exactly what you mean. Unfortunately, sometimes the “write this story right now” occurs when I’m in the middle of something else and I have to tell it, “Sit! Stay! I’ll get to you when I can.” LOL

    1. Thanks, Liz! And I totally understand the sit/stay notion! I have a story in mind right now that has to wait until the one due next is completed and it is difficult to resist it!

  10. Congratulations, Jessie! I can’t wait to read this. I’ve had the opening of books rush out of me, but alas, never a whole book.

  11. Congratulations Jessie! I have been looking forward to this new series and can’t wait to read it!

  12. Congrats, Jessie!! I’m so excited for you. How wonderful to have a new baby that is so different from all the previous ones.

    Yes, I sometimes have to let ideas perk a while before they fully develop. This is particularly true with my yard. It started out as pretty much a tabla rasa, but 4 trees and 62 bushes, and tons of ivy later, it is becoming the lush green forest I want to live in.

  13. Jessica, Congratulations on your latest book. I loved your Beryl and Edwina books. In answer to your question-As a writer-Yes, I have more than a few story lines and characters who are waiting in the wings to be brought to life.

  14. Congratulations, Jessie! I hope you are doing something fun today. Most of my ideas are mere nuggets that I work over and over in my brain. I do find that if I’ve sat with an idea for awhile and done some general research, the words flow more easily when I sit down to write.

  15. Congrats on the new series. I enjoyed this debut, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

  16. Congratulations, Jessie on the new book! It sounds like a real page turner. I do have projects kind of talk to me before I actually take them on.
    Taking talking to me a step further, I have a collection of teddy bears and I used to find ones to buy because the bear “talked to me”. I think if you take the time to listen projects you should take on and start, stories you should tell, books you should write, all these things and more will “speak” to you asking you to be the tool that gets it done.

  17. Congratulations on your new release, Jessie. Sounds like a great read, I’m looking forward to reading the book.

  18. Hi Congratulations on your new release! It sounds like a great read and your book cover is Stunning , I love it! Yes, I have some projects that I have started and it seems like they are saying get me finished, don’t take me wrong, I do finish alot of them, but then I guess some of them I’m just not too excited about. Have a great week and stay safe.

  19. Congratulations on your latest book! I have yard projects that I started and hope to finish this year! Hoping for a bigger garden this year, too!

    Thanks for the chance!!

  20. Congratulations on the launch and the new series! Brava!

  21. I love historical mysteries! Loved Beryl and Edwina and can’t wait to read this new mystery!! Congratulations on your new book!

  22. Yes. My plans and ideas often come to more than my husband and I can handle doing. We are both disabled. Therefore, we take small things to do at a time. It just takes us a long time to get anything finished. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.

  23. Congrats on your latest book release. I love crafting and making jewelry is one area. Often ideas come to me in my sleep. Often I need several days to remember what steps are involved in the project. My fingers are crossed.

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