Elvis and Witches in The 25th Hour . . . Three Critique Partners Make Good

texasholdem_cover (2)WINNER! WINNER! The winner from last week’s blog with Sharon Saseen is: Mary Alice Brown! Email me at: christie (at) christie-craig.com to claim your prize.  Congrats!

Today I have a very special blog for you.  I have not one, not two, but three wonderful authors for you!  I’ve introduced you to a couple of them before, but one is a debut author, and they share something unique . . . they all started out in a critique group together, and they all had book releases on the same day last week!  How exciting!

First, debuting with her novel, The 25th Hour, is Jaye Garland.  Then, with the second in her series of Paranormal romances, The Witch on Twisted Oak, Susan Muller.  And, rounding it out, a Contemporary romance with a hint of a mystery, but separate from her Cupid Chronicles, Elvis is a Keeper, by Shauna Allen.

So, since these gals are friends, instead of my typical interview, I’ve asked them to share a bit about their books, about being critique partners, and to give up the goods on each other. And, stick around and comment, because I’ll be giving away a copy of each of their books next week!

Jaye, why don’t you go first . . .

Given the chance to work with other authors who also needed to find their perfect-match critique partner(s), I finally fell into a group that works with my crazy-busy writing schedule. Hint: Some of us might fit as Looney Tunes characters, but Speedy Gonzales, I’m not. I’m the wordiest writer in the bunch, and you know what that means, heavy edits. <sigh>

There are four members in our group. Janet Nash and I had already been critiquing each other’s work for a while. Enter Shauna Allen and Susan Muller who had also connected with each other prior to the four of us working as one group. Wow! Quadruple Magic!

We’ve exchanged scenes, chapters, and whole manuscripts. We’ve traveled to exotic writer’s retreats [read: rough, arrive in a 4-wheel drives, bring-your-own-bug-spray and bed linens.] We’ve stayed awake long into the night as we brainstormed, giggled, plotted, giggled, edited our pages, and hunted for the mysterious singing Christmas carol cup hiding in the cupboard.  

What are my “Release date mate’s”, Shauna’s and Susan’s, Looney Tunes characters? Okay here goes.

While Tweety Bird appears to be an innocent, vulnerable canary, underneath his delicate, yellow exterior beats a crafty heart. This would be Susan. She’s the epitome of Southern grace and charm, and she refuses to see the negative in any situation, but her rapier wit catches you by surprise—every time. She’s also a chocolate lover, but it doesn’t like her.  

Confident, cool and usually three steps ahead, Bugs Bunny also has a few surprising quirks, not the least of which is having cartoon characters as his best friends. This would be Shauna. In truth, she gives no-nonsense advice, and is the heart and soul of her loving family. She also sleeps like a rock and writes with sound canceling headphones.

I’m truly blessed to know these women and share this awesome release day with

them. Thanks, ladies!

So fun! Now how about your book, The 25th Hour?

the25thhour2_850 - 200-300Chased through time by her father’s murderer, an architect lands in the arms of a 19th century rancher. The two lovers realize they must find the killer before another life is taken…and the window of time separates them, forever.

Sounds fantastic!  Now, how about you, Shauna?

Ooh, not sure how I can follow that!  Looney Toons?  Couldn’t she just make me sexy and give me Gerard and call it a day?  LOL!

But seriously, I began writing as a solitary journey, until I realized I couldn’t go it alone and I stepped out and joined my local chapter of RWA.  I quickly joined our large critique group, which parred down to our much smaller group and we “babes” were born.  It was amazing how we clicked, each with our own skills and writing genres.  (A grammar queen, one who looks at the “big picture,” an Inspirational writer, the historical girl, the mystery writer, and me. They apparently think I write the sexy stuff, LOL!)

And I can tell you I wouldn’t be near the writer I am, nor as happy without them.  We’ve celebrated the highs, and they’ve scooped me out of the low valleys when I’ve been down.  That is what a critique group is all about.  Love them.

Now, onto the dirt!  Hmmm . . .

I think Jaye might have closet OCD. That, or maybe she just really loves the historical times she writes about so much that she tries to live there.  You see, she still prints manuscripts.  On paper.  And highlights them and writes notes on them and everything.  And she has time to do all this because she gets up before the roosters.  Seriously.  I don’t think the woman sleeps.  But, that’s OK, because she’s a woman after my own heart in the junk food department.  On our last weekend retreat she brought the candy and Twinkies.  <3

As for my Susan, I have shared a bed with her a few times on our weekend retreats, but, again, I’m not sure she sleeps either.  (Am I the only one who sleeps?)  I’ve accidentally seen her in her (almost) birthday suit, but I’m relieved to say we have all the same parts and I have much sexier panties.  And, lastly, she’s a dog whisperer.  Caesar Milan better look out. If writing doesn’t work out, she could take his job.

LOL!  How about your book, Elvis is a Keeper?


Hook, Line, and Sinker . . . Elvis is alive, he’s brainy, and he’s a Keeper!

A spunky female fishing guide’s life is turned upside down when her beloved father is accused of a brutal crime. The last thing she needs is a brainy Elvis clone to waltz in and tempt her heart.

Intriguing!  OK, up last is Susan . . .

Because I write mysteries, and usually keep secrets well hidden until the end of my story, I’ve been tasked with revealing some of those secrets about my writing partners, Jaye Garland and Shauna Allen.

I’ve know these ladies for four years, and like any good mystery, the things I’ve learned about them have come to light slowly, gradually.

Take Jaye Garland for example. I knew from the beginning she was a solid craft writer, but I soon discovered the she’s a grammar queen. Have a question about commas? Ask Jaye. A little trouble with your tenses? Get Jaye to help you out.

Jaye also gives every appearance of a mild, suburban housewife. Appearances can be deceiving, because Jaye has a wild side. She grew up in Wyoming and can ride and ranch with the best of ‘em. Now that she’s in Houston, she substitutes a little blue Beamer for a horse and zips around town with the top down. Zip is the operative word here. Stay out of her way on the freeway.

She spent several years living in Saudi Arabia. When she returned to American soil, she had trouble adjusting. Every time she wore short sleeves or a V-neck blouse, she felt like a harlot and worried about going out in public. Fortunately, she seems to have gotten over that.

Shauna Allen on the other hand, looks exactly like what she is: a crazy combination of loving wife and mother, hardworking nurse, devoted Christian, Gerard Butler super-fan, and half-Aussie rock music lover. She’s a lightweight in the drinks department, though. She claims to love Margaritas, but I’ve yet to see her finish one.

Shauna has a play list of music for each of her characters and puts it on when writing their scenes. If you see her head bobbing and her fingers flying over her laptop keys, she’s in the groove. Don’t disturb her. Fun fact (well, fun for us, maybe not so much for Shauna,) she is legally blind in one eye.

We all know Shauna loves tattooed heroes, and most of you know she has at least one tattoo of her own. I know how many and where they are located, but that’s one secret you’ll never get out of me.

I’d love to know, but you’re a good friend!  But go ahead and tell us about your book, The Witch on Twisted Oak . . .

WitchonTwistedOak_850Murder. Secrets. Revenge. A detective must use himself as bait to protect all he holds dear. . .his family, his career, and the Witch on Twisted Oak.

Sounds wonderful! Thanks for being here, ladies!

I cannot wait to read all three of these books!  How about the rest of you? Now, it’s your turn to leave a comment.  Do you have a fantastic friend?  Or two?  Or three?  Leave your comment and let us know which of these books you’re most interested in, and I will be giving away one Amazon e-copy of each to some lucky winners.  Check back next week to see if you’ve won.  Good luck!

65 thoughts on “Elvis and Witches in The 25th Hour . . . Three Critique Partners Make Good

  1. I have the best friends and all quicky as well! There’s Uwe who is a Sgt in the Corps Jennie a poet writer and Myranda the CNA. They are all my best friends in the world i love them each! Now for the books i am blessed to be a fan on facebook of Ms Allen and have read Elvis is a Keeper (loved it!!!!!) The 25 hour sounds really good!

    Julie S

    • Hi Julie! I love your name. One of my nieces is named Julie, and my Julie was also in the military, so I feel like we’re already friends. And, since you’ve already discovered the very talented Shauna Allen’s writing, you’re in for a real treat when you read Susan Muller’s books. Both ladies write keeper novels. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Thanks for visiting with us, Julie. Where would we be without friends? They say a good friend will bail you out of jail, but a best friend is sitting beside you in the cell saying, “Man, that was fun.”

  2. Thank you, Shauna, Jaye, and Susan. I’ll be honest, I’ve learned a little about all of you guys here. Jaye, I’ve got you on down for questions about commas. Susan, I didn’t know you liked Chocolate and just couldn’t have it. I thought you were a bit weird and just didn’t like it. I feel better about you now. And Shauna, tattoos? Seriously?

    I hope all my readers out there will give these books a try. And make sure you leave comments to try to win a copy. You won’t be disappointed.


  3. Good morning, Christi, and thanks for hosting the three of us. I know I speak for us all in saying we’re thrilled to be here. I’m at the day job right now, but will be popping in as much as possible to respond to comments.

  4. Ladies you are all new authors for me, but your books all sound fascinating. This is why I love to visit blogs of my fav authors, I get to meet new ones and find so many great and wonderful books to read.. BFF are the best no matter what you do in this life. I could not be without mine. Loved your stories about each other.. Good luck with your books.

  5. Thanks for hosing us, Christie. It was fun hanging with my friends. Is anyone surprised that Jay was the first one up to answer posts?

  6. They all sound so good. New authors to me. Will have to check out any previous books by them. Love blogs where I can get referrals to new authors. Thanks

  7. Thanks so much for having us, Christie! (Is anyone surprised I’m the last one to the party?! LOL)
    So happy to see all these wonderful comments and am excited to be sharing this time with my babes! <3

  8. Great post, ladies! How wonderful for you all to see your hard work together pay off together. I’m just tickled that you all released at the same time. How fun. All the books sound terrific and I can tell my TBR pile just got three books taller!

      • That’s amazing. I still find it amazing what a difference it made for me, mentally and emotionally (even moreso than physically). Cutting it out seems like such a small sacrifice to make when you feel so much noticeably better! How long have you been GF? did you find it challenging to remove it?

      • Did you just say you’d steal a book because you thought it cost too much?That aside, if I read the article correctly, only new releases will be 9.99 and when a book is at the “mass market” paperback stage, it will be 7.99, which is pretty much industry standard and one can assume pays Amazon for carrying it, along with the authors and publisher. “Fair” and “can make it work with the bottom line” don’t always agree. Which is why companies close their doors and go out of business.

    • bn100, I can promise you’ll love Susan’s book, The Witch on Twisted Oak. If I may suggest her other works, The Secrets on Forest Bend, and Redeeming Santa. All three are on my Keeper Shelf–and not because she’s my friend. Her books are that good. 🙂

  9. I have an accountability partner who I get together with at least annually for a writer retreat. Usually in Nashville where we track down our personal singing waiter. Oh, wait, that’s another story. Love to read any of the three, but Susan’s mystery has me intrigued.

  10. OMG! How exciting to read about my Babes! I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading this blog. Probably because none of my deep dark secrets were divulged! Kudos to Christie for compiling such a creative and fun blog!

  11. Congratulations on your triple triple triple releases! I know Jaye (and Jan) and I’ve virtually “met” Shawna, but Susan, you’re a new one for me! I can imagine the excitement y’all must have shared last week. What a crazy day for three completely sane ladies. Wishing many sales on all of you.

    • Hi Abigail, thanks so much for stopping by. We’ll have to get you to testify for us, that we really are sane, if the need ever arises. Oh wait, we’ve got it writing. Ha! Seriously, thanks for your good wishes. And, best of luck with YOUR next release, Who Wants To Marry A Doctor. Can’t wait!!! 🙂

  12. I’ve been super blessed with great friends! I’ve been friends with a certain author (cough…cough…Shauna…cough…cough…) since we were eight! Other close friends that I see pretty often I’ve had since junior high, and a spattering more are from college. They’re all amazing people and I’m lucky to have them in my life.

    How great that all three “Babes” had release dates the same day! I read Susan’s first book, The Secrets on Forest Bend, and liked it a lot, so I’m anxious to read the second. But Jaye’s debut novel sounds intriguing as well! (I’ve already read Elvis is a Keeper, a-course).

    • Thanks, Jenn. Adam and Jillian from The Secrets on Forest Bend make an appearance in The Witch on Twisted Oak, so you get to see what they’ve been up to. And then all four characters show up briefly in the third book, Voodoo on Bayou Lafonte. The first chapter is included in the back of “Witch.”

        • jwade, I think I would have to agree. I ha&nev#8217;t heard much about many of the boys this year, but Brandon, Brad, and Bryce have to be the top three from what I have heard and read. I don’t know george and tate, and have not heard much about them, so I can’t comment on the final two.

  13. What a fabulous interview format–LOVED it!! Thanks for sharing some of the details about this wonderful group of writers and their books (Jaye that tag line slays me every time I read it :)). You’re lucky to have each other and I wish you all much success and continued great writing. Can’t wait to read Susan and Shauna’s books since I already tore through Jaye’s book.

    Good luck!

  14. I only have one best friend, and we have been friends since middle school, we have the same quirkiness and since my husband is in the military, sometimes we don’t see each other for years and sometimes we don’t talk for months because we are so busy BUT we always start talking like we never stopped. The books I find most interesting is all three. I am not much into time travel books but this one is intriguing my curiosity! Thank you ladies!!

    • Hi, Charity. I understand the importance of good friends. My husband used to travel for work, often leaving on Monday morning and returning on Friday afternoon, just to do it all over again the next week. The one thing I never had to do was move around and I very thankful for that. Now that he has passed, I am comfortable knowing all my neighbors and feeling at home.

  15. Good morning, Charity!
    We have a similar life in common. My hubby isn’t military, but he’s worked the oil patch his whole career and that takes him away from home for days/weeks at a time. We lived overseas for seven years, so the ability to maintain those close friendships is vital. You’re lucky to have such a good friend. Thank you for stopping by!

  16. I love to draw and paint and I’m attempting to write and illustrate my own children’s book. I have some real and online friends that I’m constantly sending drawings and getting their opinions and running ideas by them LOL I probably drive them crazy but they help me so much and I don’t know what I would do without them <3

    • Hi Becka! I’ve always said, “Without friends, I’ve got nothing.” Wouldn’t it be a sad, solitary world without our mates? [[shivers]] Artists of all types need vast quantities of alone time, but it’s not meant to be a permanent deal. We come out of our writer’s caves on a regular basis and that’s what keeps us going. I so admire your artistic talents. I could never do the illustrations. You rock! Thanks for stopping by!

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