Posts tagged with: Golden Heart paranormal finalist

Meet 2017 Golden Heart Finalist Heather Leonard!!

Today we’re welcoming another Rebelle, 2017 Golden Heart Finalist Heather Leonard, whose wonderfully-titled manuscript, BLESS YOUR HEART AND OTHER SOUTHERN CURSES is nominated for Best Paranormal Romance.

Heather Leonard is a civil rights employment lawyer/mediator who writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy in her ever so sparse free time. If she were a super-hero (and she wants to be because capes are this year’s must have fashion accessory), her superpowers would be the ability to find the best bottle of cheap champagne and answer all questions relating to Harry Potter trivia. Her weaknesses would be the inability to resist good champagne and Harry Potter trivia challenges. She also likes to talk about herself in the third person, as this bio indicates.


Mix Stephanie Plum with Harry Dresden, add a Southern twist, and you’ll have Hazel Matthews. Living in the buckle of the Bible Belt poses challenges for closeted witch Hazel Matthews, (although she prefers to be called an “elemental engineer” or “skilled in chance reduction technology” due to the baggage associated with the “w” word).

When the untimely death of her former fiancé threatens to renew an old battle between the Diaspora (remnants of the supernatural beings who have turned Birmingham, Alabama into a magical Casablanca) and the Mystikos, a secret society dedicated to destroying all magic but their own, Hazel must find the killer to keep the peace. Forced to choose between using the magic her religious upbringing has led her to believe will damn her soul or allowing a supernatural witch hunt to threaten those she holds most dear, Hazel learns if the power within her will save or destroy her.

What a fun and fresh premise!! And with some very interesting cultural depths. I can’t wait to hear more!!

Heather’s sitting down for a chat with us today so we can learn more about her and her book. I’ve got sweet tea and slices of lemon icebox pie to pass around (mimosas, too, for anybody who wants one!!), so grab one of the rockers here on the front porch, and join us!

(Oh, and if anybody wants to throw out a few Harry Potter trivia questions, Heather and I can compete to answer them, ‘cause Harry Potter trivia is my jam, too!!!!)


Welcome, Heather! It’s great to have you with us!

It is my honor and pleasure to be on the blog today and to answer questions about myself and my book. Quite honestly, I’m still in delirious shock from becoming a Golden Heart finalist, so the fact I can string together a coherent sentence is a minor miracle.

Clearly you can string together a lot more than just a sentence, or you wouldn’t be a Golden Heart finalist! Like I said above, I love the title of your Golden Heart nominated book!! How did you come up with the idea?

Photo by acnatta / Andre Natta (profile) – A rear view of Vulcan, CC BY 2.0, Link

I started writing BLESS YOUR HEART after noticing some of the imagery around Birmingham, my home town, that made the city look like a supernatural casserole. We have a large steel statue of Vulcan (that moons the area of town where I live), a central intersection that forms a pentagram, and other pagan statues, symbols and art in prominent parts of the city. Keeping all this mind, my thoughts drifted to Birmingham’s nickname, the Magic City. I had always heard the city got the nickname because it sprang up overnight, like magic. I began to wonder, what if the city sprang up overnight because of magic. From that initial question, the story fell into place.

Oh, that’s so cool!! I’ve always wondered why it was called the Magic City, and that’s a great take on it! So you grew up in Birmingham. That’s a city with deep history in the Civil Rights movement, and you’re a civil rights lawyer. How does your work with the law blend with your work as a writer?

I am civil rights lawyer who represents victims of discrimination and harassment. I frequently go to trial to hold employers accountable who have violated federal antidiscrimination laws. The two careers, writing and the law, have benefited one another. After I started writing, my trial skills improved dramatically because I learned how to tell a compelling story that captured a jury’s attention and persuaded them to adopt the theme of my case.

My legal practice introduced me to some of the most colorful situations and characters you could ever imagine. Lawyers have some of the best stories because they are representing people in extreme conflicts that defy the imagination. For example, there was the case in which I was involved about a missing horse testicle. It was nuts! (wah wah wah – cue the gong)

Wow! I love the synergy there. I’ve always thought that lawyers have to be good at constructing narrative, and telling a gripping version of events. I hadn’t really thought about it as a source of stories themselves, but of course it must be. Do you have a new Work-In-Progress? Care to share what it’s about?

I’m editing and revising a story about a real estate agent to super villains. It isn’t like Zillow lists lairs, hollowed out volcanoes and fortresses of doom. World domination would never allow the time to comparison shop. I’m hoping that I can have it ready to enter the 2018 Golden Heart, unless fortune smiles upon me and some angel of an editor decides that BLESS YOUR HEART should be the next book she or he must buy.

I love that idea!! The humor you bring to the paranormal genre is awesome. Thanks so much for being with us today, Heather! Before we say goodbye, what question do you have for the readers of our blog?

For summer movies, my rules are I want to laugh and be awed with amazing special effects or dazzling explosions. I’m a child of the 80s, so it isn’t Summer without a blockbuster action film. For books, my reading criteria is similar – I want to laugh and be taken on an adventure to some place or situation that I’ve never experienced. What is your criteria for a beach read? What do you recommend as my next read? Remember, I need the book to bring the funny.

Awesome question!! I can’t wait to hear the answers. And folks, don’t forget to throw out a few Harry Potter trivia questions for us as well!!


Connect with Heather Leonard on Social Media:


Twitter: @HNLeonard


Meet 2017 Golden Heart Finalist Janet Halpin!!

Today we’re welcoming another Rebelle, 2017 Golden Heart Finalist Janet Halpin, whose manuscript BERYL BLUE, TIME COP is nominated for Best Paranormal Romance!

Janet Halpin identifies as a “kidder, complainer, tea-drinker, mom, reader, teller of hilarious and sometimes totally true tales, sock-folder, and author.” Inspired by the genre fiction that enthralled her as a kid, Janet writes YA, mystery, light Sci-Fi, and WWII-set paranormal and time travel, all with a dash of humor and romance. She lives in New England with her husband, a funny and friendly guy, two sons, both geniuses and good looking to boot, a hyper Border Collie and a gigantic Maine coon cat with a terrible disposition.

Here’s a blurb for her nominated manuscript, BERYL BLUE, TIME COP:

Wannabe librarian Beryl Blue shelves books in her hometown library. Dull, but after being orphaned and years in foster care, she prefers the mild life. Until she meets a woman whose claim to be a time cop from the future isn’t nearly as unbelievable as the reason she’s come to Beryl: She needs Beryl to stop a rogue time traveler from killing a seemingly random soldier on leave and changing history forever.

Before Beryl can blink, she’s stranded in 1943, tasked with sticking like a Band-Aid to Sgt. Tom “Sully” Sullivan. She soon learns two things: Sully’s more than capable of taking care of himself, and it’s her heart that’s in danger—the more time she spends with the sexy, stubborn soldier, the more she comes to care for him, a man from a different time, a man she can never be with. Terminator meets Somewhere in Time as Beryl scrambles to stop a time traveling assassin, protect a man who refuses to be protected—and keep her heart intact.

Terminator meets Somewhere in Time”! I love that! The book sounds like so much fun, and, Janet, I can already hear the warmth and humor of your voice! Go, you!

Okay, readers, let’s settle in for some lively conversation with Janet Halpin. In keeping with her WWII theme, let’s find ourselves a cozy booth in a pub full of handsome soldiers in uniform (they can send over drinks, and maybe we’ll decide to foxtrot with them later).


Janet’s offering a $15 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter today, so join in the conversation after the interview!!

The Latest Comments

  • Jennifer Bray-Weber: Great tips! Love what you did with this. Thanks so much!
  • Bev Pettersen: She really is amazing. I’m learning a lot, Beth!
  • Elizabeth Langston: What a great idea–and I think you’re really close! A meticulous Horseman of the...
  • Lydia Stevens: I went and grabbed the revised pitch from the first post and this is what we came up.with: When mother...
  • Jennifer Bray-Weber: You make it sound so easy, Beth! I’ve always struggled with elevator pitches, but these...