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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Interview and Giveaway with Author Mom Jean Murray


Please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.

Professionally, I am a nurse.  I recently retired from the Navy after twenty years of service.  They were some of the best years of my life.  I miss it, but it was time to settle in one place with our young family. 

I’ve always been an avid reader over the years, but military suspense mostly.  Then I read my first paranormal romance in 2008 and my whole life changed.  I started writing in 2009 and obtained my first publishing contract for the Key to the Cursed series in 2010.  I predominately write paranormal romance and urban fantasy.  I couldn’t be happier.  I love the mix of the unusual with romance, such a powerful combination.  I write under my own name.   

Tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.

Soul Awakened is the second book in the Key to the Cursed Series and picks up where Soul Reborn left off.  War is waging in the human realm and the Carrigan sisters are the only things standing in the way of the Pantheon’s enemies. In Soul Awakened we get to meet Kendra, the youngest Carrigan sister and Egyptologist, tasked with awakening Asar’s son, Bakari, from his cursed slumber.  Bakari has been tortured at the hands of their enemies and left in a darkness for five long years.  He awakens to find his world at war and his soul tethered to a beautiful woman. She is his salvation or the only barrier to ending his pain.

Are you a mom (or parent)?

I am the mother to 3 boys – 7, 5, and 2 ½.  It’s quite an adventure to say the least, having grown up with all sisters.  My father always wanted boys and had four girls instead. He raised us as tomboys, great training for me.  I wish he was here to see his grandsons.  He would have loved it.

If yes do you find it hard to juggle writing and parenting?

Absolutely.  In addition to parenting I work full time like most moms, so it leaves very little time for writing.  I wait until the boys go to sleep and then I write.  My laptop follows me all around the house, on errands, doctor’s appointments, the hair salon...  I take every opportunity to write, but my family always comes first.   

Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?

My sisters asked me that same question, as my Key to the Cursed series follows three sisters.  There are similarities, but my characters are homegrown. I will say that some of my life experiences have been weaved into the stories.  Kendra’s journey is not dissimilar to my experiences and perspective over the years – gaining the confidence to stand up for yourself and doing what is right.     

Is there a theme or message in your work that you would like readers to connect to?

The Key to the Cursed series has an emotionally driven storyline and follows the tagline, “Only the strongest love can unlock the souls of the Underworld.” Each of the books has a theme of love, forgiveness, redemption, and second chances.  Most importantly, they are full on love stories.   

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I deployed when my first son was only 7 months old.  I had six months orders, which thankfully were cut down to three.  Leaving him in my husband at the airport and getting on that airplane was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.  My son started crawling when I was away.  My husband sent me a video file of his great achievement.  

Is there a genre(s) that you’d like to write that you haven’t tackled yet?

I’m dying to write a SciFi Romance.  Beat up spaceship traveling the galaxies.  I am obsessed with world and character building, so it would provide the perfect backdrop for new heroes and heroines.  Think of the possibilities!

If this book is part of a series…what is the next book? Any details you can share?

I’m working on the third book in the Key to the Cursed series, Soul Unbound.  Bomani, the Underworld Legion Commander, has lost his faith in honor, something he valued above all else.  Unable to face his shame, he abandons his post and escapes to the human realm, but his choice drives him into the hands of a new master.  In order to stay among the living (a place he does not belong), he is blackmailed into tracking a goddess marked for execution. He is given strict orders to watch but not touch. One look at his mark and he knows he is doomed. 

Siya, the Goddess of War, has only done what she has been asked and where has that gotten her?  Marked for death.  Exiled from the Creation Pantheon, Siya has vowed to make the most of her time left on earth – protect humans at all costs.  But, darkness lurks in the shadows, threatening to take it all or possibly, give her a second chance at love.

What is next for you? Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?

Soul Awakened just released this past week (Jan 14, 2013).  I’m so excited for Kendra’s and Bakari’s story to be heard.  It is one of those labors of love, probably one of the hardest novels I’ve written.  So far the review feedback has been enormously positive.  They are ‘getting’ the book, which is the biggest compliment an author can receive.
My goal for 2013 is to get Book 3 on the shelves by the end of the summer. J 

Soul Awakened Book Trailer:



GIVEAWAY:  E-book of Soul Reborn + Wicked 

Romance Tote bag (reusable canvas) with goodies.

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In addition, please enter to win Soul Awakened’s 

Book Tour giveaway Kindle Fire HD + Soul Reborn 

and Soul Awakened ebook gift set.
see Rafflecopter below for Kindle giveaway

Excerpt:

Kendra laid her head on the ancient text. The old leather scratched her cheek. She had been staring at the thing for over week. Over twenty books and thousands of pages later, she was no closer to finding the spell to release Bakari. She looked along the rows and rows of bookcases. Too many to count.

“I don’t know if I can do this.”

Bomani moved from his position along the wall and stooped next to her. “You need some rest.”

She sat up and rolled her knuckles over her tired eyes. The hieroglyphics on the page blurred. When she first arrived to the archive, she had been certain she would find the right spell. Her watch ticked by the minutes, hours, and days of Bakari’s confinement. His suffering prevailed because of her failure to find the answer.

Irritated, she pushed the frizz from her face and tucked her long unruly hair behind her ears. When had she lost her hair band? She glanced around the chair. The stupid elastic band had deserted her somewhere in the last few hours. Traitor.

Okay, now she was losing it.

“Are you looking for this?” Bomani’s gentle voice soothed her insanity.

“My hair band. I hate when my hair gets in my face. Drives me nuts. You wouldn’t know because you have no hair, but trust me. I should cut it off, I really should.” Sighing, she leaned back again in her chair. “Maybe you’re right.”

Bomani glanced away and smiled. He looked as tired as she did. In fact, she realized he had been with her the whole time, even after the huge battle. “Laugh all you want, but you are not much better.” She poked him in the chest. His grin broadened.

“We make a pretty sorry pair, do we not?”

Sorry was right. She felt downright stupid. Who was she kidding? She was a fraud. Everyone believed she was so smart, getting her Doctorate by the age of twenty-two, but she cheated. Her gift gave her the advantage, not her smarts. And now her gift was blind and her incompetence showed. Or at least she felt that way.

“You are frowning, not laughing. I did not mean to offend.”

She rolled her head to the side to look at him. Sincerity weighted his eyes. “It’s not you.” She knew she was being too hard on herself. Her normal bubble of optimism deflated with each passing minute

Everything had come easily to her—until now when Asar’s son needed her most. Heck, the world needed her to unlock him. More than enough families had lost someone to the curse. They had lost their father to it. Kepi’s death at Bakari’s hand would break the curse and maybe she could see her father again in the afterlife.

“You put too much pressure on yourself.”

“How can’t I?” Kendra sighed in defeat. “He’s stuck in there. And I don’t know how to get him out. The texts I picked should have the answer, but…” She looked at the hieroglyphics etched into the parchment. The passage she had been reading simply stopped. She turned the page and it started a completely different spell category. “There aren’t more volumes of these books?”

Bomani stood and raked a thick hand over his skull trimmed, black hair. He glanced down the center vestibule and cursed quietly, too low for Kendra to translate. She jerked upright. 

“There are other texts?”

She jumped out of her seat and surged toward the back of the library. Why didn’t he mention it sooner? Well, he hadn’t but she could guess as much from his agitation.

“Wait.”

He snagged her arm and stopped her. When she looked up at him, he ran a hand over his face and then at the base of his neck. Whatever it was, he didn’t want her to see it. “There is another section, but I was hoping we would not have to go into the vault.”

“Why?” Miffed, she took another few steps away, but he tightened his grasp.

“Because what is contained there is very dangerous. I do not want to expose you unnecessarily.”

“What if it contains the spell I need? I could be wasting my time up here.”

“We do not know that, it could be right here.”

“Do you want to bet Bakari’s life on it?” Kendra countered.

Darkness flickered in his gold eyes. He shook his head and his eyes brightened again. “Of course not. Listen, we need to have our wits about us when we go in there. Right now neither of us is in any condition to enter. We need to rest.”

Irritated, she put her hands on her hips ready to make her argument, but he raised his hands in surrender.

“Give me twenty-four hours. You should be strong enough then. I promise I will take you there.”

Despite the small burst of energy, it waned. The heaviness of fatigue and defeat made its home in her mind and body. He was right, they needed rest. If a strong warrior was uncomfortable going in there, then there had to be a good reason. “Twenty-four hours.”

He nodded. “I assure you Bakari is safe. One more day will not make a difference. With some sleep your head will be clear to focus on the task. You want that, right?”

“Yes, of course.” Safe? Sure, nothing would happen to Bakari, but all she could imagine was him locked alone in darkness. Her own worst fear.

“Good. Let me take you to your room.”

Too tired to argue she complied and followed him out. One more day was a day too long in her opinion. 
 





Soul Awakened
Key to the Cursed Series Book Two

Genre:  Dark Paranormal

Publisher:  Crescent Moon Press
Date of Publication:  January 15, 2013

ISBN:  978-1-937254-97-1                     
ASIN: 978-1-937254-98-8                    

Number of pages:  292
Word Count:  92,000

Cover Artist:  Taria A. Reed

Book Description:

LOVE FOR BLOOD OR HONOR

Kendra, an Egyptologist and demi-god in waiting, is the key to unlocking Bakari, the Egyptian God of Death, from his cursed slumber. Desperate to free him, she inadvertently binds herself to the god with a spell that only death will undo. To save Bakari from himself, she may have to sacrifice her innocence, and possibly her soul, before he becomes his family’s worst enemy.

HAUNTED BY SINS OF THE PAST

Bakari awakens to a world at war and a beautiful woman who has tethered his soul to hers. In the wake of his self-destruction Kendra is his only hope of salvation, but another has vowed to keep Bakari from the one thing he craves most-- his Parvana. His butterfly.

About the Author:

In her pursuit of a nursing degree, Jean Murray aspired to see the world and joined the Navy. At the end of 2011 she said a heart-breaking goodbye to her Navy family and retired after twenty years of military service. Although her dreams of writing full time have yet to come true, she continues her writing journey and draws inspiration from her travels abroad. She enjoys spending time with her family and of course, writing about the “Carrigan sisters and their mates, Gods of the Underworld,” to bring you the next installment of the Key to the Cursed series.




                      

Goodreads: 

Book Trailer Soul Reborn: http://youtu.be/smSJsJp5o74

a Rafflecopter giveaway

31 comments:

Anne Consolacion said...

Wow! I have a son and he's a handful! And you have 3 boys! How do you do it?

Kathy Sloan said...

Jean, I'm really looking forward to reading this next book. I travel alot on business, and your first book had me rushing back to my room each night to read more. Am delighted the next book is out. Keep writing!!!

Jean Murray said...

Hi Anne.

I honestly don't know how I do it. LOL It helps having a supportive husband who distracts them while I have deadlines. I think overall it takes me longer than most to write, but when I find inspiration I need to get it down before another priority takes hold. There are times when I must put it aside and focus on the boys. I try to stay somewhat organize which helps maximize my time.

Thanks for sticking with the Blog Tour. Hope to see you at the next stop.

Jean

Jean Murray said...

Hi Kathy!

That is so awesome. I'm glad you enjoyed Soul Reborn. I'm hoping Soul Awakened will keep you turning the pages.

I've fallen in love with a lot of the secondary characters in the series, which might lend to more books in the series. Hope you will stay along for the ride :-)

Jean

bn100 said...

Nice interview. This sounds like an intriguing series.

bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

Jean Murray said...

Hi bn100.

So glad to see you here. Don't forget to take credit for your stop on the rafflecopter!!

Happy Reading.

Jean

Kelly Powell said...

Great interview. Thank you for sharing with us.

Kelly Powell said...

I'm really looking forward to reading this next book. Thank you for sharing with us sweetie!!!

Jean Murray said...

Hi Kelly.

So awesome of you to stop by. I'm hoping you will give Soul Awakened a try and was truly a labor of love.

Jean

Dorothy (xsecretxkeeperx) said...

The Rafflecopter says I am to leave a craft idea. I am confuzzled.

You just about broke my heart with the story of leaving your son and missing his milestone. I don't have kids of my own yet, but for some reason, stories involving them always get to my emotions the most.

Craft Idea - 3D tear art! I love this as a kid. All you need is colored construction paper and glue. You tear out the shapes of clouds and flowers, or ghosts and goblins, haha, and you pasted them to a background sheet. You add as many layers as you want of an object to make the perfect 3D effect. Like, the grass would only be one page thick, but the ghost would be three pages thick to pop out from the page.

wickedromance said...

Hi Dorothy.

Sorry for the confusion. *Snort* I kill myself sometimes. Thanks for catching that. Comments and craft ideas are always welcome :-)

I'm going to have to try the 3D tear art next weekend with the kids. They love to glue - my table can attest to it.

Now that I can stay in one place, its nice coming home and snuggling with the boys. No trips for mommy anymore :-)

Thanks for stopping by.

Jean

Lyre said...

Jean,

How much of your active duty experience filtered into your writing? I mean, did tours abroad influene your interests at any point?

Curious, how many books might there be in this series? Cause I could devour all of them!
Lyre
gaia(dot)athena(at)gmail.com

BookLady said...

Congratulation on your new book! Enjoyed the interview. Thanks for the giveaway.

wickedromance said...

Hi Lyre.

My travels abroad were amazing. It really opened my mind to a different way of thinking. It taught me to slow down and appreciate what is happening around me. I bring the elements of places I've been into Soul Reborn and Soul Awakened-- specifically the buildings and garden that surround the Underworld palace.

As for the series, it was originally 3 books, and Kit will complete the Carrigan sisters' storyline, but the series will not end with them because the secondary characters are so darn lovable. I'm writing Bomani's story right now, which will come before Kit's. This was not planned but is necessary after what I did to him in Soul Awakened LOL.

Thanks for stopping by.

Jean

wickedromance said...

BookLady.

Thank you for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the interview. Hope to see you at the next stop.

Jean

Shannon Bereza said...

I am following this book tour and I have to say I absolutely love that Jean takes the time to talk to the fans and readers. I can understand the family stuff since we have some similarities. I also have three sisters but I also have two brothers thrown in the mix and as for myself I have four sons and got a little girl as a bonus with my last baby since they were twins. I'm patiently waiting for my copy of Soul Reborn and I can't wait to read it and get to Soul Awakened.

Shannon Bereza said...

I forgot to leave my email sbereza22(at)gmail(dot)com

Shannon Bereza said...

I know this might not have an answer, but is there an estimated publication date for Soul Unbound? I always like to mark my calender so I don't forget to check the online retailers around that time so I can pre-order or order as soon as it comes out.
sbereza22(at)gmail(dot)com

wickedromance said...

Hi Shannon.

Wow, you're a super mom. Love it!! This is the fun part of a book tour - getting to meet and talk with new people. If a reader takes the time to comment, I think it's important to do the same. :-)

I'm writing Soul Unbound as we speak. My goal is to have it released by the end of summer.

I'll update the details on my website. www.jean-murray.com


WhooHoo!

Jean

Shannon Bereza said...

My question is whether or not you will write more books with the Egyptian theme in them after this series or will you tackle some other type of historical significance and add your modern twist on it?
sbereza22(at)gmail(dot)com

wickedromance said...

Hi Shannon.

I think I will always have some Egyptian mythological book brewing, but I do want to expand my horizons. I do have another series that is based on the book of revelations that has been sitting on the shelf for a while that I need to dust off and reread. I have some smaller, single title books I'm looking to self-publish. So, once I finish the Key to the Cursed series, I'm open to trying something new. We shall see.

Thanks for asking.

Jean

Shannon Bereza said...

This is a question for really anyone who can answer. I know if I googled it I might get a hundred different answers and discerning them could be difficult. My question is why would you want to write under a pen name? There has to be some thrill about seeing your name on the cover of a book or on the spine. I get the authors who are hugely published that might want to use a pen name for something they are trying completely new from their norm, but otherwise I couldn't imagine not using my own name.

wickedromance said...

Hi Shannon.

Your question isn't unusually and often can be found on all sorts of message boards. I don't think there is any right answer. Some authors choose another name for the very reason you stated -- if they are switching genres. Nora Roberts - JD Robb. Some choose a pen name for privacy reasons or to keep their writing separate from their professional or personal life. I think it is mostly a personal choice.

It does get confusing though because a person will email or "friend" me and I'm at a total loss of who they are until they tell me -- Oh, I'm so-n-so.

Jean

Shannon Bereza said...

It can be really confusing. I don't remember who it was but I did a search for someone that I was looking for a book by and it just kept coming up under another authors name. After searching what seemed like forever and a friend led me in the right direction but I was frustrated because I couldn't find the darn book and here I had found it just under the authors pen name.

wickedromance said...

Hi Shannon.

There are some authors I only know by their pen name. It can get confusing.

Personally, even if I changed genres I would write under my same name. I follow an author because I love their writing voice - not necessarily the genre they are writing. I say keep the same name. It will make it easier for me to find their other books :-)

Jean

wickedromance said...

Wenona,

I want to thank you for featuring me and Soul Awakened on your wonderful blog. You have a great following!

Jean Murray
www.jean-murray.com

Anne Consolacion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anne Consolacion said...

So what is in the vault? Oooh. I would love to read this book. :)
anne.j2 (at) gmail.com

wickedromance said...

Hi Anne.

The vault contains the demotic texts (black magic). The book of the dead is one of the texts inside the vault. The spell Kendra needs to awaken Bakari.

I hope you do read this book :-)

Jean

Shannon Bereza said...

My question is do you plan on doing a large blog tour like this when you release Soul Unbound this summer. Which by the way since I am already reading Soul Awakened I am going to be dying for it to be released. sbereza22(at)gmail(dot)com

Shannon Bereza said...

I have a question for both Jean and/or the bloggers out there including the fabulous blogger whose page I am commenting on. I am wondering how an author decides on what blogs to feature their book releases or blog tours or cover reveals on? Kind of a weird question but I have found several new blogs to follow on this book tour and there really is a wide variety of types of blogs. sbereza22(at)gmail(dot)com