Posts tagged with: Darynda Jones

Flash Fiction Friday!


If you browse the internet, as we writers are wont to do, flash fiction has several defining characteristics, most of which involve word count. You will find flash fiction—also known as sudden fiction, micro fiction, quick fiction, etc.—defined as any work of fiction that is under 1,000 words…sometimes. Definitions vary greatly. Some say FF is as many as 2,000 words, and some say it is as few as 50.


Whatever word count you choose to incorporate for your personal definition, the rewards of learning to write short are vast. Nothing hones your skills as a writer more than having to pare down your story or scene into a few decisive words, each one burdened with glorious purpose. (Okay, I stole that from Loki.)  

Basically, every word choice is really important.


Thus, every Friday (barring any previously scheduled event, like the upcoming 10thAnniversary of the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Blog!) we will be posting a writing prompt and a maximum word count for you to flex those writing muscles. Stoke that creative fire. Ignite that powerful imagination. And tell anything that gets in your way, “I will no longer be your slave!” (Sorry, that was Carina. I stole that, too.)

The word count will change from week to week. This week, we’re going easy on you. You will have a maximum of 50 gloriously burdened words to complete the exercise.

Today’s writing prompt goes a little something like this…

Your opening line will begin with, “If I knew then what I know now…”

And that’s it! Start with that line, write your story in 50 words or less, and post in the comments below. No one is expecting perfection! Don’t even try to achieve it. This is just a fun exercise and a judgement-free zone. 

But here’s the thing.

We’re all busy. We all have a lot on our plates. So, I suggest giving yourself a time limit. Maybe 15 minutes. Or 30. Or even 60. Any amount of time you can devote to your craft is time well spent. Remember, this is like going to the gym, only WAY more fun. This will build brain muscle, stretch and strengthen, tighten and tone.

Still not motivated to give it a shot? How about I up the ante? If at least five people post their stories here today, I will give away a digital copy of ANY Ruby book (your choice) to each and every writer who posts his or her work! If 50 people post, 50 people will be gifted a book.*

Go ahead. Make me regret this decision. I dare ya.


For an example of a 300-word piece of flash fiction, check out this story written by yours truly.

*Books gifted preferably through Amazon. If you live outside the US and the book you choose cannot be gifted, we have a few options. The book will be delivered directly from the Ruby you’ve chosen, you may choose another book, or you will be sent a gift card monetarily equivalent to the book you choose.

Hot Reads Edition of Fangirl Friday

Promise of FireHello, friends and welcome to a new take on our Fangirl Friday. Instead of merely mentioning the Ruby books releasing or on sale (yes, they’re terrific) we want to make this Friday spot a place we can talk about all kinds of books. New releases, hot sales, and books that have finally made their way to the top of the TBR stack. We know we all have towering stacks, right? And we want more interaction. We want you to tell us what you’re reading and loving. It’s a place to not only promo, but to really talk about what’s tickling your fancy in the world of fiction (or even non-fiction). Rubies will be providing  several books each Friday that are on our radar. Your job is to give us even more…even if  it’s your own new release. We’re a community and you’re part of it.

So here we go:


The Fabulous Darynda Jones has a fascinating recommendation. She was asked to blurb a book for a debut author. Here’s what she has to say:

I gave a quote for a book (and debut) that came out today and it’s phenomenal! It’s called A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet, but it’s more fantasy than “hot”, though it is that too at times. You can find more info on Amanda at and if you’re interested in buying her book, check it out here

Red-hot Ruby Author L.L. Kellogg has her entire Seduction Series on sale. Check out Hypnotic Seduction, Captive Seduction, and Sin City Seduction. I’m thinking there’s lots of seducing going on here 🙂

Ruby Heather McCollum recently read Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Here’s the Kindle link: Amazon Buy Link

I really enjoyed it! I think it is considered YA dystopian. I was immediately absorbed into the world of Reds and Silvers. Aveyard is a master at world building and pulse-driving plot twists. I immediately bought the sequel but have to wait until February for the third book.

Here’s the blurb:

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

Ruby Elizabeth Langston went back to an old favorite with Betty Neels:

I think that a lot of Betty Neels books are on sale right now.  AN INDEPENDENT WOMAN is 99 cents.

It was copyrighted in 2001, so it was one of the last novels that Betty Neels ever published before she passed away.

Neels’ stories are an addiction for me. The heroine is almost always a young, middle-class English woman who falls for an older Dutch physician. The books are sweet, fairly predictable, and ultimately charming–like a tea with honey on a cold night. A comfort read when I need a few hours of peace.

And from Bev Petterson’s TBR stack: Body of Evidence by Rachel Grant

Rachel is a fellow pixie and 4-time GH finalist. I just read BODY OF EVIDENCE when I learned it had recently been optioned for worldwide motion picture and television rights. The book was super and I’ll be reading all her “Evidence” books. Holy cow, it was good and I’m looking forward to the movie.

In Body of Evidence, a sexy romantic political thriller, an archaeologist and a US Attorney find themselves on an explosive, globe-spanning chase full of political intrigue and legal drama.

“An exhilarating read that could easily be a blockbuster on the screen.” – Kirkus Reviews  


Now the Rubies would like to know what you’re reading…or what the next hottest book of the summer will be. Ready…set….share away!

Read a Romance Month


(I’m hi-jacking this post….but Darynda can keep her cute pic up there because she’s the blogger on RARM TODAY – go check out her post!)

So this is Liz Talley and just in case you didn’t know, August is the month of romance! SO this is OUR month, people. It’s our chance to stuff the good wonderfulness of romance books down the throats of all those prigs who scoff and turn their uppity noses to the sky at us and our inferior product. Oh, you didn’t know? Romance is trashy.

Which is why it totally fits me. In fact I may wear white after Labor Day this year. And I know how to tease my hair Texas-sized. Oh, and I’ve been known to mix silver and gold jewelry and I do love a good Moonpie. Yep, I fit right into trashy…except we all KNOW that romance writing is some of the most beautiful, clever, satisfactory writing out there…and we all love it.

Yes, this is our month.

Read a Romance Month was started by Bobbi Dumas RARM pic

The first Read-A-Romance Month was launched in August 2013 by Bobbi Dumas, an unabashed romance fan and advocate. As a freelance writer who specializes in romance and women’s fiction, Bobbi has been privileged to write about the books, writers and other great aspects of the publishing industry, especially as they affect and impact women. She primarily writes reviews and features for NPR and Kirkus, the book media site where she also pens a popular romance blog.

This month over on her website ( you can find 93 award-winning authors blogging and giving away fabulous prizes to help celebrate romance books. Isn’t that fun?

So I decided to ask a few Rubies why they love romance books so much and here are their answers:

Gwynlyn  MacKenzie

Why?  Because sometimes reality sucks.  Between the covers of a romance, the ending is always worth the struggle to reach it, and that translates so well to real life, infusing optimism into the darkest days, kindling the belief there will be light at the end of the tunnel.  Love is the most powerful force on earth.  Romance celebrates it, illuminates it, and shouts to the world that love is now, as it has always been, the answer.

 Anne Marie Becker

 For the escape and for the moment of triumph. When life around me feels crazy, which is most days, escaping into a character’s world for a few minutes is precious relief. And knowing they will overcome all obstacles to achieve the greatest reward is reassuring in a world where there are no guarantees.

 Heather McCollum

 For the escape and for the moment of triumph. When life around me feels crazy, which is most days, escaping into a character’s world for a few minutes is precious relief. And knowing they will overcome all obstacles to achieve the greatest reward is reassuring in a world where there are no guarantees.

Jennifer Bray-Weber

 To live vicariously in a time and place unlike my own. To relive the first blush of love. To sigh in satisfaction of a HEA. Yeah…that’s why.

Tamara Hogan

 I love reading romance because no matter what the era or setting, or how many dire complications might arise, I know the characters will find their way to each other by the end of the story.

 Jeannie Lin

 My first romance novel was handed to me in middle school by my BFF. “You’ve got to read this,” she said. “So we can talk about it after.” That’s how we’d first become friends. In elementary school, we happened to check out the same books at the school library and ended up chatting about them afterwards. This is why I read romance books to this day — to engage in rich and emotional conversation over books. And make new friends.

 June Love

 I read romance because of the roller coaster of emotions. I know the guy will get his girl. I know the woman will get her man. But, it’s their journey that keeps me turning the page. No matter how bad things get between them, love will win. And, that happily ever after is why I keep reading romance.

Elizabeth Langston

 I read romances because they remind me, over and over, of a universal truth. Love is worth fighting for. It takes work. It doesn’t always fall into place at first but we can keep trying and we’ll find it. Love is the most precious thing in my life and yet it’s free.

 Vivi Andrews

I read romance novels because I crave resolution.  In a romance, the questions get answered, everyone works through their issues, the world gets saved, and love conquers all.  And the girl always, always gets her guy.  Justice and symmetry and endings that make you sigh?  Yes, please.

 Diana Layne

Since HEA’s are not guaranteed in real life, I read for escapism, knowing I’ll get my happily-ever-after.

 Elisa Beatty

I read romance because it lets me re-live all the emotions of falling in love: the crazy attraction, the uncertainty, the frustration and fear, the giddiness, the tears, the bliss, the intensity of passion. I don’t want quite that much drama in my real life (I’ve been married almost 20 years, and am very glad to be past the thrill-ride stage), but it’s so much fun to read about it. 

Elizabeth Essex

I read romance novels because the HEROINE ALWAYS WINS. Always. I want the heroine to win the way a plant wants water. Romance books lift me up. They are  empowering, inspiring and just ripping good yarns!

Jackie Floyd

 I read romances for the HOPE they give. The hope that everything will work out and that Happily Ever After is a possibility for everyone.

 Anne Barton

Romances let us experience  that scary, wonderful, crazy feeling of falling in love over and over again. We count on them to make us a little breathless and leave us happy. Who wouldn’t want that in a book?

Laurie Kellogg

 I read romances for the endorphin high I get from the happy ending.  It’s the same as feeling you get from eating chocolate. I’m an HEA addict.

Addison Fox

I read romance because it makes me happy. A genre totally devoted to the idea that love matters. ::sigh:: It doesn’t get much better than that!

Don’t you love those answers? And I bet you’re thinking of exactly why you love having romance novels in your life. And I want you to share with us why you pick up a romance novel as opposed to something else. We know you love all books, but why is romance one of your favorites? Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win my two releases this month – The Sweetest September and the re-release of A Little Texas PLUS a $15.00 Starbucks giftcard.

If you want to see why I read romance, you can go to



RUBY RELEASE: Sixth Grave on the Edge

It’s book birthday time!

To celebrate the sixth in the Charley Davidson series, we are offering an EXCLUSIVE excerpt just for the readers of the Ruby Blog! Hope you enjoy! ~D~


North American Cover


Sometimes I wrestle my demons.

Sometimes we just snuggle.

—Bumper Sticker

Most girls might think twice before getting engaged to someone like Reyes Farrow—but Charley Davidson is not most girls. She’s a paranormal private eye and grim reaper-in-training who’s known to be a bit of a hell-raiser, especially after a few shots of caffeine. Her beloved Reyes may be the only begotten son of evil, but he’s dark and sultry and deeply sexy and everything Charley could hope for. Really. But when the FBI file on Reyes’ childhood happens to land into her lap, she can’t help herself: She opens it…and then the real fun begins. First, Charley finds a naked corpse riding shotgun in her car. Then, a man loses his soul in a card game. Throw in a Deaf boy who sees dead people, a woman running from mobsters, and a very suspicious Reyes, and things can’t get any worse for Charley. Unless, of course, the Twelve Beasts of Hell are unleashed…Sixth Grave on the Edge is the sixth Charley Davidson novel from bestselling author Darynda Jones

UK Cover

UK Cover


I accepted a card that read ‘live free or die’ from a homeless man with leathery skin and several missing teeth. In return, I gave him what little change I had in my pocket as I walked across the parking lot to my apartment building. And it was literally my apartment building. Reyes had bought it for me. I had no idea what to do with it, but I loved that it was mine.

“You aren’t going to that game,” Reyes said as he stalked behind me.

“Sure am.”

Heat from his anger rose around me. A lot of heat.

I whirled around to face him. “What is the problem?”

He kept coming until he was only inches away from me. “You. It’s like you search out the worst, most dangerous situations to go into, then rush to get there without a second thought.”

“I have second thoughts,” I said, and turned to continue my journey to the building. “And sometimes I even have third and fourth thoughts, too.”

He grabbed my arm before I’d taken two steps. “This isn’t funny.”

I made a pointed effort to look down at his hand, the one holding my arm, before refocusing on his face again. “No, it isn’t.”

He let go of my arm. “You can’t save every desperate soul out there, Dutch.” When I started toward the building again, he stepped in my path. “You’re going to get yourself killed if you try, and I’ll be stuck here alone, all because I’m in love with a bleeding heart who’d rather risk her life for strangers than listen to anything I have to say.”

I shifted my weight to one leg, jutting out a hip. “You’re in love with me?”

He stepped close again and rested a hand on my jutting hip. “You know I am.”

“I know. But the heat of your anger is going to burn you alive.”

He ran his tongue along his lower lip as he studied me. “Maybe I have a fever.”

Suddenly worried, I reached up and felt his forehead. Blisteringly hot, but when wasn’t he?

He tested his forehead himself. “See? I probably need a sponge bath,” he said, turning playful.

As sexy as that lopsided grin of his was, I was starting to get worried. I felt his forehead again. “Do you really have a fever?”

“Ever since the first time I saw you.”

I couldn’t help but giggle at that. “Seriously, Reyes. Are you feeling bad?”

“Only when you’re not near me.”

“Do you get sick?”

“Every time we’re apart.”

This was getting me exactly nowhere. He was deflecting on purpose. “Fine. But I’m going to that card game. I totally have a plan,” I said, sidestepping past him.

“Because your plans always work so well.” He followed me inside and up the stairs.


Click here! 



Ruby Release: Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones

fifth graveNever underestimate the power of a woman

on a double espresso with a mocha latte chaser high.



Charley Davidson isn’t your everyday, run-of-the-mill grim reaper.  She’s more of a paranormal private eye/grim reaper extraordinaire.  However, she gets sidetracked when the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, moves in next door. To further complicate matters, Reyes is her main suspect in an arson case.  Charley has vowed to stay away from him until she can find out the truth…but then dead women start appearing in her apartment, one after another, each lost, confused, and terrified beyond reason.  When it becomes apparent that her own sister, Gemma, is the serial killer’s next target Charley has no choice but to ask for Reyes’ help.  Arsonist or not, he’s the one man alive who could protect Gemma no matter who or what came at her. But he wants something in return. Charley. All of her, body and soul. And to keep her sister safe, it is a price she is willing to pay.


WOOHOO!!! Fifth Grave Past the Light has officially dropped!!!

Oops. Okay, sorry for the multiple exclamation points. I have such a blast writing about Charley and her antics that I kind of get caught up her world. Possibly a little too much. I get a little sassy when she’s in my head. A tad brazen, to which the server at Macho Taco can attest. In my own defense, anyone could have misinterpreted the question “Do you like it extra spicy?”

I’m telling you,  it’s Charley’s fault. She’s infectious.

To prove my point, I thought I’d offer an excerpt, a snapshot from the life of a reaper who believes sarcasm should be made the official language of congressional sessions and divorce court. Not sure why.


Fifth Grave Past the Light

Chapter One


Ask me about life after death.

—T-shirt often seen on Charley Davidson,

    a grim reaper with questionable morals


The dead guy at the end of the bar kept trying to buy me a drink.

Which figured. No one else was even taking a second look and I’d

dressed to the nines. Or, at the very least, the eight- and- a-halves.

But the truly disturbing part of my evening was the fact that my

mark, one Mr. Marvin Tidwell, blond real estate broker and suspected

adulterer, actually turned down the drink I’d tried to buy



Turned it down!


I felt violated.


I sat at the bar, sipping a margarita, lamenting the sad turn my life

had taken. Especially tonight. This case was not going as planned.

Maybe I wasn’t Marv’s type. It happened. But I was oozing interest.

And I wore makeup. And I had cleavage. Even with all that going for

me, this investigation was firmly wedged between the cracks of no and

where. At least I could tell my client, aka Mrs. Marvin Tidwell, that it

would seem her husband was not cheating on her. Not randomly,

anyway. The fact that he could’ve been meeting someone in par tic ular

kept me glued to my barstool.


“C-come here often?”


I looked over at the dead guy. He’d finally worked up the courage

to approach and I got a better view of him. I figured him for the runt

of the litter. He wore round- rimmed glasses and a tattered baseball

cap that sat backwards on top of muddy brown hair. Add to that a

faded blue T-shirt and loosely ripped jeans and he could’ve been a

skater, a computer geek, or a backwoods moonshiner.


His cause of death was not immediately apparent. No stab wounds

or gaping holes. No missing limbs or tire tracks across his face. He

didn’t even look like a drug addict, so I couldn’t tell why he’d died at

such a young age. Taking into account the fact that his baby- faced

features would make him look younger than he probably was, I estimated

him to be somewhere around my age when he’d passed.


He stood waiting for an answer. I thought “Come here often?”

was rhetorical, but okay. Not wanting to be perceived as talking to

myself in a room full of people, I responded by lifting one shoulder

in a halfhearted shrug.


Sadly, I did. Come here often. This was my dad’s bar, and while I

never set up stings here for fear of someone I knew blowing my

cover, this just happened to be the very same bar Mr. Tidwell frequented.

At least if it came to a knockdown drag- out, I might have

some backup. I knew most of the regulars and all of the employees.


Dead Guy glanced toward the kitchen, seeming nervous before he

refocused on me. I glanced that way as well. Saw a door.


“Y-you’re very shiny,” he said, drawing my attention back to him.


He had a stutter. Few things were more adorable than a grown

man with boyish features and a stutter. I stirred my margarita and

pasted on a fake smile. I couldn’t talk to him in a room full of living,

breathing patrons. Especially when one was named Jessica Guinn, to

my utter mortification. I hadn’t seen her fiery red hair since high

school but there she sat, a few seats down from me, surrounded by a

group of chattering socialites who looked almost as fake as her boobs.

But that could be my bitterness rearing its ugly head.


Unfortunately, my forced smile only encouraged Dead Guy.


“Y-you are. You’re like the s-sun reflecting off the chrome bumper of

a f-fifty- seven Chevy.”


He splayed his fingers in the air to demonstrate, and my heart was

gone. Damn it. He was like all those lost puppies I tried to save as a

child to no avail because I had an evil stepmother who believed all

stray dogs were rabid and would try to rip out her jugular. A fact that

had nothing to do with my desire to bring them into the house.


“Yeah,” I said under my breath, doing my best ventriloquist impersonation,



“I’m D-Duff ,” he said.


“I’m Charley.” I kept my hands wrapped around my drink lest he

decide we needed to shake. Not many things looked stranger to the

living world than a grown woman shaking air. You know those kids

with invisible friends? Well, I was one of those. Only I wasn’t a kid,

and my friends weren’t invisible. Not to me, anyway. And I could see

them because I’d been born the grim reaper, which was not as bad as

it sounded. I was basically a portal to heaven, and whenever someone

was stuck on Earth, having chosen not to cross over immediately after

death, they could cross to the other side through me. I was like a giant

bug light, only what I lured was already dead.


I pulled at my extra- tight sweater. “Is it just me, or is it really

warm in here?”


His baby blues shot toward the kitchen again. “Hot is m-more

like it. S-so, I— I couldn’t help but notice you t-tried to buy that guy

over there a drink.”


I let my fake smile go. Freed it like a captured bird. If it came back

to me, it would be mine. If not, it never was. “And?”


“You’re b-barking up the wrong tree with that one.”


Surprised, I put my drink down— the one I bought myself— and

leaned in a little closer. “He’s gay?”


Duff snorted. “N-no. But he’s been in here a lot lately. He l-likes

his women a little . . . l-looser.”


“Dude, how much sluttier can I get?” I indicated my attire with a

sweep of my hand.


“N-no, I mean, well, you’re a l-little—” He let his gaze travel the

length of me. “—t-tight.”


I gasped. “I look anal?”


He drew in a deep breath and tried again. “H-he only hits on

women who are more s-substantial than you.”


Oh, that wasn’t offensive at all. “I have depth. I’ve read Proust.

No, wait, that was Pooh. Winnie- the- Pooh. My bad.”


He shifted his non ex is tent weight, cleared his throat, and tried

again. “More v-voluptuous.”


“I have curves,” I said through a clenched jaw. “Have you seen

my ass?”


“Heavier!” he blurted out.


“I weigh— Oh, you mean he likes bigger women.”


“E-exactly, while I on the other hand—”


Duff ’s words faded into the background like elevator music. So

Marv liked big women. A new plan formed in the darkest, most corrupt

corners of Barbara. My brain.


Cookie, otherwise known as my receptionist during regular business

hours and my best friend 24/7, was perfect. She was large and in

charge. Or well, large and kind of bossy. I picked up my cell phone

and called her.


“This better be good,” she said.


“It is. I need your assistance.”


“I’m watching the first season of Prison Break.


“Cookie, you’re my assistant. I need assistance. With a case. You

know those things we take on to make money?”


Prison. Break. It’s about these brothers who—”


“I know what Prison Break is.”


“Then have you ever actually seen these boys? If you had, you

would not expect me to abandon them in their time of need. I think

there’s a shower scene coming up.”


“Do these brothers sign your paycheck?”


“No, but technically neither do you.”


Damn. She was right. It was much easier to just have her forge my



“I need you to come flirt with my mark.”


“Oh, okay. I can do that.”


Nice. The F-word always worked with her. I filled her in and told

her the deal with Tidwell, then ordered her to hurry over.


“And dress sexy,” I said right before hanging up. But I regretted

the sexy part instantly. The last time I told Cookie to dress sexy for a

much- needed girls’ night out on the town, she wore a lace- up corset,

fishnet stockings, and a feather boa. She looked like a dominatrix. I’d

never been the same.


See what I mean??? But while we’re on the subject, have you ever dressed as a dominatrix? Worn a feather boa? Fishnet stalkings? All anecdotes welcome.

Fifth Grave Past the Light is available everywhere! Click here to get  your copy of the latest in this New York Times bestselling series at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Thanks for stopping by!


Ruby Release: Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet by Darynda Jones


I have both the honor and privilege of hosting the celebration for the latest installment of the Charley series, which is authored by the lovely and talented Ruby sister, Darynda Jones.

This book is the fourth, and yes, I do like stating the obvious, book in the Charley series. It follows FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT, SECOND GRAVE ON THE LEFT, and THIRD GRAVE DEAD AHEAD. If you’ve never read any of the Charley series, then I’m sorry for you because you’ve missed a boatload of laughter, romance, and entertaining relationships.

I must admit I’ve been concerned about Charley. Seriously. After what she went through in THIRD GRAVE DEAD AHEAD, who wouldn’t be? Right? (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to read the book.) I’m not only talking about her physical well-being, but also about how she’s dealing with the men in her life. Her father’s betrayal was bad enough, but Reyes? So heartbreaking. How will he ever redeem himself? How will she ever forgive him? And, then there’s Garrett. I want to know how he’s coping. And, I’m excited about Artemis. You gotta love Artemis.

In case you don’t know anything about Charley, (seriously, after reading and commenting on this blog, get the series and read it) I’ll introduce you. Charley is the Grim Reaper. Yeah. Really. She is. And, she’s a damn good one. She’s also a great juggler. Look at her relationships. They run from borderline psychotic to one with a devotion so intense it transcends the corporeal world. Speaking of corporeal, Reyes is so hot. I’m not saying that just because he’s the son of Satan. Although, he is. As in, he grew up in Hell. But, I digress. We were talking about the release of FOURTH GRAVE. You know I just realized Charley’s ADD could be why I like her so much. Not that I’m ADD or anything like that.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah. The interview. I decided since Charley was recuperating, I wouldn’t bother her with a bunch of questions. (If you’re wondering why she’s recuperating, then <sigh> read the series.) Instead, I decided to interview the men in her life. Although, I’ll have to admit some weren’t very cooperative. Far be it from me to be petty and mention names, but like father, like son comes to mind. Anyway, I gave it my best shot.

Me:  LELAND, as Charley’s dad you’ve known about her gift for years. When she was only a child, you used her to help you solve cases for the APD. Now that you’ve retired from the force and your little girl is grown, you’re not too happy with her career choice as a private detective. Seriously, dad, what did you expect her to do with her life? Yes, it’s dangerous. Yes, she’s had her share of bruises. However, let’s not forget you almost got her killed when you painted a target on her back and sent a parolee her way. That was all on you, Daddy Dearest. We know you love and care for her, but trying to have her arrested and her license revoked wasn’t cool. A parent will do whatever to protect their children, but seriously, what were you thinking? Without giving us any spoilers, can you give us a hint if you’ll work to repair your relationship with your daughter, or if you still think you did the right thing?

Leland:  I agree and couldn’t be more saddened by my own behavior. Would it help to know that I had my reasons? One actually. And it’s a pretty good one. Without explaining completely, I will say that I just wanted to make sure she would be okay if anything were to happen to me. I wanted her out of that business (yes, the business I practically forced her into) and I just didn’t know what else to do. Charley is stubborn. I knew that if she was arrested and convicted of a crime, she couldn’t be a licensed PI. So I went about trying to get her to quit the wrong way. I am trying to make amends. Not an easy thing with my daughter, but I am trying.

Me:  UNCLE BOB, as an APD detective, like your brother, you call upon your niece to help you solve cases. The difference is you respect what she does, and you don’t coddle her. You’re more aware of the extent of her gift than her father is. I know you were upset with your brother for the stunt he pulled in the hospital. However, let’s face it, Charley is the Lucy Ricardo of detectives. If it’s going to happen, you can rest assured it will happen to Charley. How do you deal with her on-the-job pain and suffering while using her as her dad did?

Uncle Bob:  The way I see it, Charley is going to do what Charley wants to do. I worry about her, especially after what she’s gone through. But she has this way of pulling through the most life-threatening situations virtually unscathed. At least until recently. And her gifts have saved countless lives. I do call upon her but she does the same with me. I see our relationship as mutually beneficial. She helps me solve cases and I come to her aid in legal situations. It works out well, albeit more for me than her. And I not only respect her but am in awe of her. While I would love to know what she isn’t telling me, the whole story of who and what she is, part of that respect is recognizing her right to privacy. I figure she’ll tell me when she’s ready.

Me:  GARRETT, you’ve come a long way, baby. When you were first told about Charley’s gift, you tormented her. You really were an S.O.B. Yet, underneath all that closed-minded derision, you were like a schoolboy afraid to let a girl know he likes her. Between coming to terms with her being the Grim Reaper and having to deal with her obsession over Reyes, you still toyed with relationship thoughts. You still adored her. Above all, you still had her back.  Oh, how I love a man who has a woman’s back. Things drastically changed in THIRD GRAVE. You saw first-hand her Grim Reaper capabilities. Heck, you even saw Mr. Wong. With this huge insight into Charley’s world, how will this change your relationship with her?

Garrett:  That is a very loaded question, one that even I can’t answer. I saw a lot more than Charley as the grim reaper. I saw a lot more about this love interest of hers. Of what he’s capable of. Of what he was sent to do. I am still coming to terms with everything I’ve seen and learned, but I will say one thing: If Reyes Farrow thinks he will use Charley in the way that his father wishes, he will die knowing otherwise. <Interviewer’s comment: See? What did I tell you? He has her back.>

Me:  REYES, aaah Rey’aziel. Son of Satan. Where do I begin? I know you love Charley. I mean, you defied your heritage and took on a human form just to be with her. Maybe things didn’t turn out exactly as you’d planned, and yes, maybe she did bind you for all eternity, but in spite of all that, you love her. I know it. You know it. Yet, you don’t trust her. In fact, your distrust brought her a pain that no one should have to bear. Why was it so difficult for you to trust her? That is something that has me baffled. And, don’t give me some cop out by saying it was because she bound you. Son of Satan or not, that won’t fly, buddy. Oh, and notice I let you off the hook by not asking how you plan to woo yourself back into her heart. You just better be sure you do.

Reyes:  I’m surprised you’d talk to me in such a way knowing what you know, but I’ll let it slide for now. You seem to have Charley’s best interest at heart, something we have in common. Trust does not come easily for me. Her binding me did affect my perception of her, but not in the way that you think. I thought she knew what she was capable of, what she could do to me with the slightest wish. She didn’t. She still doesn’t realize her true potential, but at the time I was afraid she did. Or would soon. And I had that one blinding goal driving me, to find the man who sent me to prison, to prove my innocence, to sever his spine. I was afraid she would stop me. She is the only one who could. I’m not out to woo myself back into her heart. I have ruined that and I know it. But I am out to keep her alive. To keep her safe from others like me, others from my world. She may not like it, but when she sees what has come after her now, she won’t have a choice. And if she just happens to end up in my arms in the process, if my mouth just happens to find hers, then that just makes my job all the more pleasurable, because while I want her safe, I want her just a little bit more. <Interviewer’s comment: Fanning self…and that’s why I LOVE Reyes.>

How do you feel about the men in Charley’s life? Aside from Charley, who is your favorite character in this series?

One lucky non-Ruby commenter will be placed in a drawing for an autographed copy of FOURTH GRAVE BENEATH MY FEET.

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a RITA®, and a Daphne du Maurier. As a born storyteller, she grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.


Our First Ruby RITA!!! (And Other Thrills from the 2012 Nationals Awards Ceremony)

RWA Nationals 2012 ended nearly two weeks ago, but we’re still buzzing with excitement over the Rita and Golden Heart Awards Ceremony.

In addition to being in a ballroom with Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Linda Howard, Julia Quinn, Stephanie Laurens, Robyn Carr, Joanna Bourne, Deanna Raybourn, Victoria Alexander, Kristan Higgins, Cherry Adair and many, many more romance superstars (including RWA Lifetime Achievement Award winner Brenda Jackson!!), we had SIX Rubies up for awards, including our very first Rita nominees, Elizabeth Essex and Darynda Jones.

Given the size and strength of the competition, we’re delighted to report that fully HALF those Rubies took home the prize, and Darynda won our VERY FIRST RUBY RITA!!!!

For those of you who’ve never been, the Awards ceremony is rather like the Oscars (minus the goofy dance numbers), with dazzling colored lights, huge swathes of silky, velvety curtains, orchestral music, a baritone-voiced announcer, and a raised stage that nerve-wracked nominees have to climb up to to give their acceptance speeches, with a video crew filming everything and blowing it up on FOUR, count-em, FOUR enormous Jumbotrons.

Attendees are dressed in their fabulous best, as you can see here (left to right: Brenda Jackson and the model for all her heroes: her husband; Ruby Sally Eggert, looking gorgeous with fellow Firebirds Heather Nickodem, Diana Belchase, Kathleen Bittner Ross, and Talia Quinn Daniels; and a radiant Elizabeth Essex enjoying the glam).



As the nominees are announced, the Jumbotrons show special screens for each one with her author photo and book title, and for the Rita nominees, their beautiful covers. Behold some Ruby-licious examples:



If you’re lucky enough to win your category, up you wobble to the podium, trying to keep breathing, and praying your Spanx don’t spontaneously roll to the floor while you express your gratitude to all the amazing people who make your writing life possible. So, yeah, here are pictures of me and Liz Bemis and NORA FREAKIN’ ROBERTS all at the same podium. Really. NORA. Although her jewelry was maybe ever so slightly fancier than ours (Liz had to go with stuff safe for baby Riley to gnaw on, and mine was picked out for me by my teenage daughter at Claire’s). (Did I mention Liz got to SIT with Nora during the ceremony? And word is Nora spent more time cooing over baby Riley than paying attention to her shiny new Rita??? ‘Cause Nora is just that chill, and Riley is just that adorable.)


But, for the Rubies, the really big story of the evening was watching our wonderful Darynda snag that precious golden statuette!!!!

Here, recorded for posterity, is the story in pictures:

Left: One of the TWO times Darynda’s nominee screen popped up on the Jumbotron. (The other was for her nomination for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements).

Right: Darynda stands up under the dazzling lights when HER NAME IS CALLED as the winner!!!




Left: Darynda makes her gracious speech, which includes a shout-out to her adorable Street Team, the Grimlets, and ends with a war cry of “RUBY DOMINATION!!” (Yay!!! You rock, Darynda!!)

Right: Darynda generously passes her Rita around to everyone for good luck, and gorgeous Ruby Vanessa Barneveld gets a special snuggle.






Left: a passel of Rubies (and no doubt future Rita winners), including Anne Marie Becker, Rita Henuber, Darynda, triple-Prism-award-winner Tamara Hogan, Laurie Kellogg, Liz Talley, and me, form a Wall of Ruby Pride.

Right: Darynda’s Rita at home, along with flowers from the proud folks at St. Martin’s Press, and her newly-minted Daphne.



Can we all just say WOW??!!!!!!!!!


Your Ruby Sisters are so proud of you, Darynda!!!


Here’s to many Ruby Ritas still to come!!!


Woo-hooo!! Our First Ruby on the NYT Bestseller List!!

When the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood first came together in March of 2009 (when we were all named finalists in RWA’s 2009 Golden Heart Contest), none of us were published yet–as befits the Golden Heart rules–but we knew we were on our way.

A few months later, when we first launched this blog, our motto was, “There’s No Place Like the Bestseller Lists!” And we knew we were on our way there, too!

Well, the Rubies collectively have more than 100 books on the shelves (or available for e-readers), and as of February 19, 2012, we have our first Ruby NYT Bestseller!

Barely more than a year after the publication of her fabulous debut novel, FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT, Ruby Sister Darynda Jones has hit the New York Times Hardcover Fiction Extended Bestseller List at #26 with the wonderful, sexy, suspenseful and hilarious (not to mention fortuitously Ruby-colored)  THIRD GRAVE DEAD AHEAD!!


You can see the good news reported directly at the New York Times.

We’re so darned proud we could burst!!

Congrats, Darynda! Well deserved!

May the Rubies make this a regular habit!


RUBY RELEASE: Third Grave Dead Ahead — Darynda Jones

Today, I have the pleasure of announcing the release of Darynda Jones’s third Charley Davidson book,

Third Grave Dead Ahead


I admit, paranormal isn’t my usual read, but I have to say, I’ve loved the two previous books.  And once my husband discovered Charley Davidson and her sassy, irreverent humor, I had to hide Second Grave on the Left so I could read it first!

Now, he counts himself one of Darynda’s biggest fans and is as antsy as I am to read Third Grave.  Since he’s watching the mail, I’ll just have to be a bit more creative to outflank him yet again.  No way I’m waiting for him to finish reading it first.  When that book makes it into this house, it’s mine!

Okay, enough gushing.  Let’s get on to the good stuff.


Thanks so much for hosting me, Gwynlyn!

So, yes, today the third in the Charley Davidson series, THIRD GRAVE DEAD AHEAD, drops. This has been an amazing journey, one that started with that Golden Heart final and led me to the phenomenal life of a Ruby Slippered Sister. A fact for which I am forever grateful.

And, as one reader pointed out, those same Rubies know my story through-and-through, God bless ‘em, But some don’t. For those who don’t know the story of how Charley Davidson was born, I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version.

Before I even started, I knew I wanted to write paranormal. I knew I wanted to write a female lead who could deliver a series of one-liners while applying mascara without missing a beat. Or getting a smudge. And I knew I wanted her to be very down to earth despite any paranormal powers she might have. So I was lying in bed one morning, waiting for my turn in the shower, when Charley hit me. Not literally, but you understand. I wanted a little bit of Buffy, a smidgeon of Stephanie Plum, and a LOT of Lorelei Gilmore from the Gilmore Girls. Actually what I wanted was that back-and-forth banter, the lightning-fast dialogue that I love so much. And Charley Davidson was born.

Here is a quick excerpt of Third Grave.

Rubies at RT and SWAG

This is Jeannie reporting live from the Romantic Times Convention in Los Angeles.First of all, check out the awesome setting. The Westin Bonaventure Hotel has been featured in many movies due to their interesting architecture and distinctive glass elevators. Every time I’m in them, I think of the first chase scene from True Lies. Here’s a view from the elevator:

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The Latest Comments

  • Autumn Jordon: You’re very welcome. I learned a lot.
  • Bev Pettersen: Such a helpful post, Thanks Autumn. And also thanks to Vivi, Rae and Judy!
  • Autumn Jordon: Everyone of these cover designers is so talented. I wish I had their eye for detail.
  • Autumn Jordon: I totally agree, Kate. I think it takes a certain eye to make an awesome cover.
  • Autumn Jordon: They did a amazing job answering my questions, didn’t they. I also learned a lot.